Leftization of Education in South Korean Society Centering Around the Authorized Textbooks

  • Bok-rae Kim Professor of Andong National University


In South Korea, education is no longer a place for learning, but a base for preparing ideological warriors, due to left-wing ideology education and fervent and conscientious teachers’ union and strong left-leaning media. Since left-wing president Moon took office in 2017, omnidirectional “leftization” of education is ongoing in society. According to Prof. Chul-hong Kim, the current left-leaning “authorized” textbook system strenuously inculcates students with the appropriateness of materialistic historical views. A high school student engaged in the protest against the campaign of “state-designated” textbooks says at a press interview, “I’m a proletarian class. It’s only the proletarian revolution that can change our social structure and its fundamental contradiction.” For reference, there are three kinds of textbooks: (1) state-designated textbook published by state (so, its copyright belongs to state), (2) authorized textbook published by private publishing companies, on the condition of passing through the government screening system (inviting criticism for its “poor screening”), (3) free-published textbook left entirely to the private sector without any state intervention. Prologue The second authorized textbook system is a “compromise” plan between state-led and privately-led textbooks. The main motive for adopting authorized textbooks (from previous state-designated textbooks) was to introduce “diversity of views and opinions” in Korean education, but a conservative journalist Gap-je Cho concluded - from analyzing 14 authorized history textbooks - that “promoting educational diversity” by authorized textbook system ended in failure. Because a great majority of left-wing professors and teachers take part in writing historical textbooks on the basis of Marxist class struggle theory: that is, Koreanized “popular view of history” or populism-based historical perspective (民衆史觀). These authorized textbooks are adopted by almost 99% of high schools across the country. Moreover, they tend to implant one “monolithic” idea (historical materialism) in the consciousness of young students. According to Cho, the authorized textbook system mired in controversy is degraded into a “certificate” of anti-state, pro-communist education, in place of diversity.
Dec 29, 2018
How to Cite
KIM, Bok-rae. Leftization of Education in South Korean Society Centering Around the Authorized Textbooks. European Journal of Education, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 3, p. 125-134, dec. 2018. Available at: <http://journals.euser.org/index.php/ejed/article/view/3990>. Date accessed: 16 jan. 2019. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.26417/ejed.v1i3.p125-134.