Students to Learn Disputed History

Beginning in 2012, students will learn about controversial issues in Korean history involving neighboring countries.

According to the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, the seventh edition of history textbooks for high schools includes territorial and historical disputes with Japan and China.

For example, the textbook will chronicle the fact that Seoul and Beijing have been in dispute over China’s five-year research program that claims Koguryo, an ancient Korean kingdom between 37 BC and 668 AD.

The book will also detail Korea’s demand that Japan stop distorting information about its colonization of the Korean Peninsula in school textbooks. Students will also learn that the two countries are entangled over the Dokdo islets in the East Sea. The islets are South Korean territories claimed by Japan.

Current history textbooks deal only with the Dokdo islets disputes and do not deal with history distortions by China and Japan.

“Students will learn historical and territorial disputes concerning other countries in the new history textbooks. The book holds a view that these disputes should be resolved peacefully,” Ahn Byong-woo, a ministry official said.

“East Asian countries have a clear identification through intimate cultural and idea exchanges for a long time. The new curriculum is expected to promote the co-development of the region,” he added.

The new East Asia history book will also cover Vietnamese history. Vietnam is involved in economic exchanges with Korea.

Apart from the new contents, the government plans to bolster history education. Under the plan, curricula for Korean history and world history will be integrated and junior and senior students at high schools may choose East Asia history as an academic course.

In gesture of support for the government’s plan to strengthen history education, 100 historians will gather in Seoul today.

By Kang Shin-who Staff Reporter 2007-03-06 21:06