Teachers’ union opposes state-authored textbook

By: Kim Rahn

Some 21,000 teachers have expressed their opposition to the government’s move for a state-authored history textbook.

The Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (KTU) issued a statement Thursday calling the move a “historic coup to return to the ‘Yushin era.'”

A total of 21,379 teachers from 3,904 schools nationwide endorsed the statement, including some who are not KTU members, according to the union. It disclosed the names of the teachers and their schools.

“The Park Geun-hye administration’s plan for a state-written history textbook is a retrogressive move and the second proclamation of Yushin,” the union said at a media briefing in Seoul.

The 1972 Yushin Constitution under former President Park Chung-hee, Park Geun-hye’s father, provided the groundwork for then-President Park to extend his authoritarian rule.

“It is a totalitarian idea to control people’s historical consciousness,” it said. “Those who hope to remove the proud modern history of democracy are descendants of pro-Japanese collaborators or dictators.”

The union said many international bodies are also opposed to state-compiled history textbooks.

In response to the statement, the Ministry of Education said it would file a complaint with the prosecution against the union leaders.

“The statement and collection of signatures is in violation of the law concerning public servants which bans collective action in connection with political issues,” a ministry official said.

The ministry will also ask regional educational offices to take disciplinary action against the union leaders.


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