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Kyohak’s History Textbook could be Completely out of Selection amid Controversy over Distortion of History
2014년 01월 06일 (월) HyoJin Cha, Reporter hjcha@worldyannews.com

Following academic world and civil society, both parties entered into a war of nerves

While schools that had chosen the history textbook by Kyohak Publishing Co. (Kyohak) decided to cancel it all at once, Sangsan High School in Jeonju, the only high school that persists in Kyohak’s history book, has been attracting public attention.

Sangsan High School is an autonomous private high school and one of the nation’s leading prestigious private schools founded by board chairman  Seong-dae Hong, author of the famous math reference book ‘Standard Practice of Math’ written in 1981.

in the morning of January 4, Sangsan High School removed the wallposter criticizing the problem of choosing Kyohak’s history textbook. An argument could be made that the school which has initially announced to lead classes in discussion and comparison between the two textbooks, Kyohak’s and Jihak’s, is now disregarding a student’s sound criticism.


Jeong-min Lee(pseudonym, male), a junior in Sangsan High School, posted a wallposter in the form of a letter to the principal and his colleague students on the wall of the entrance of the school’s main building B-dong around 9:00 p.m. on January 3.With the title of ‘Dear Principal, I have something to tell you’, the wallposter says, “I couldn’t believe what my friend said about the news that our school decided to use Kyohak’s textbook. I think, it is outrageous to teach students with a textbook containing as many as 652 errors even after passing through the correction order by the Ministry of Education.” This wallposter was reportedly removed about 8:00 a.m. next day by a school official.

There was an episode where Sangsan High School’s acting principal got a beating by public opinion when he left a comment saying, “ I am pleased to realize that ‘our school is now holding the spotlight,’” while the fact that the school sticks to Kyohak’s textbook and had removed the student’s wallposter was becoming a topic of society. Currently at Sangsan High School, a survey led by the student council to take a yes or no vote on choosing textbook is under way, along with a signature-collecting campaign against choosing Kyohak’s textbook. 

Jeollabukdo Office of Education plans to visit Sangsan High School on January 6 to figure out the real situation. It will check on whether the removal of the wallposter and the deletion of comments posted on the bulletin board have really occurred, and whether such conducts, if any, have infringed ‘the freedom of expression’ specified in ‘the ordinance on Jeollabukdo students human rights’. It is said that Sangsan High School will have a staff conference to define the school’s final position on whether to cancel or stick to the textbook.

Meanwhile, the controversy over choosing Kyohak’s history textbook has aroused a war of nerves between the ruling and opposition parties, following the academic world. The ruling party blamed the academic world and some media for ‘casting a textbook aside’, but the opposition party called for Education Minister  Nam-soo Seo to step down because he put the field of school education into confusion with Kyohak’s textbook.

In her comments on pending issues, the ruling Saenuri Party’s spokesperson Eun-hee  Kang said on January 3, “After the Kyohak’s history textbook came forward, the history academia and some media gave a concentrated attack upon it, targeting on cancellation of its official approval and ruling it out. Losing fairness, they set up a certain textbook as a target for attack and took the lead in the distortion of the truth,” and she emphatically added, “The leftists are at the forefront of the action to cast aside the textbook that doesn’t accord with their own historical view.”

“Among schools in the field which have been burdened with an excessive attack from the political circles, only 9 schools have finally chosen Kyohak’s textbook and some school are suspending the decision,” she said.

And she said, “They should stop immediately chasing for a witch-hunt toward the schools that had the courage to choose Kyohak’s textbook.” She also passed along a request, “If they really want to know the truth on the textbook correctly, they should not side with the superficial agitation, but settle down to the study of all 8 textbooks.”

On the contrary, the main opposition Democratic Party denounced the Ministry of Education for the confusion in the education field caused by Kyohak’s history textbook. The Democratic Party’s spokesperson  Jae-jeong Bae said, “Due to Kyohak’s publication, the school field fell into confusion. It is proper and natural that the ruling power pushed ahead with the matter insanely and then the resistance of the common sense against it has emerged.”

The United Progressive Party’s spokesperson  Seong-gyu Hong brought up the responsibility of the Ministry of Education when he said, “The Ministry of Education should be fully responsible for this situation because it has been protecting Kyohak’s textbook in spite of the fact that the textbook distorted the history and even made some serious errors in reflecting historical facts. Would people say ‘Seo Nam-soo Kyohak Minister’ if it weren’t that bad?’

The Justice Party’s spokesperson  Jeong-mi Lee said, “The people know that Saenuri Party’s intention to establish a foothold for a long-term seizure of power through a revaluation of former President  Chung-hee Park and the reconstruction of the history is underlying the hidden side of this situation (of the controversy over choosing Kyohak’s textbook). The power to try setting back the historical clock should stop all the attempts now at once.”

Kyohak’s textbook’s selection for school textbook was called off at 15 schools across the nation including Dongwoo Girls’ High School in Suwon where a wallposter criticizing the decision to choose Kyohak’s textbook was posted. On January 4, Hyundai High School in Ulsan, where Saenuri Party lawmaker Chung Mong-joon is the honorary chairman of the school board, has cancelled the decision to choose the Kyohak’s textbook, too.


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