South Korean President Park Geun-hye announced plans to publish government-approved history textbooks for middle and high schools, a controversial move that – quite ironically – resembles one of rival North Korea’s policies where educational material is heavily scrutinized and monitored by Pyongyang.
From 2017, secondary Korean students will only study from a textbook that will be written by a state-appointed panel of teachers and historians, the education ministry announced.
Currently, South Korean schools are free to choose from eight different history texts produced by private publishers. Although these books are distributed under government scrutiny, they are considered too "left-leaning" and encourage anti-American and pro-North Korea sentiments, according to conservative critics.
However, not everyone in South Korea is comfortable with the idea of state-issued history textbooks, which will reportedly be called “Accurate History Textbooks.”
Some academics have protested against the move, accusing the government of controlling and "distorting history."
"Such a textbook will allow the government to interfere with the interpretation and teaching of history... This infringes on the independence and political neutrality of education guaranteed by the Constitution," student organizers, who also held a rally on Saturday, told the Korea Times.
Apart from the fact that controlling and monitoring educational content goes totally against the principles of democracy – which South Korea claims to be – it’s ironic how Park is trying to defeat North Korean propaganda by doing exactly what Kim Jong-un does with his own people.