Textbooks Criticized Over NK Content

Lee Sang Yong  |  2013-10-11 14:52
South Korean high school history textbooks do not provide an accurate description of the realities of the North Korean regime, a Seoul-based group believes.

Story K, a youth intellectual forum, reviewed text books from eight different publishing houses, and took issue with the uncritical presentation of North Korea’s point of view.

“In the Doosan Dong-A textbook, information related to third generation succession and the strengthening of the Kim Jong Il dictatorship is placed under a unit titled ‘Strengthening Our-style Socialism.’ It was also claimed that, ‘As Kim Jong Il pushed forward with his position on ‘Putting the Chosun People First,’ the traditional ways of life and people’s holidays started to be revived.’”

None of the eight textbooks reviewed made any mention of North Korea’s Ten Principles for the Establishment of the One-Ideology System. These ten principles emphasize unconditional loyalty to the Kim family.

“North Korea has morphed into a total dictatorship centered on the idolization of one man via these ten principles. This was the most important change in North Korea’s political system, but any introduction or explanation has been omitted,” the report went on.

Also absent was any mention of the utilization of the Juche philosophy by Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung to justify their Suryeong system.

Story K believes that one Kumsung textbook even went as far as “glamorizing” Juche when it printed the following excerpt; “According to North Korean academia, Juche thought is a ‘human-centered world view’ and a ‘new philosophical concept with humanity at its center that realizes the independence of the masses through revolutionary thought.’”

On the issue of North Korean provocations, the report said, “Jihak Publishing referred to the ‘Attack on the Cheonan’ as the ‘Cheonan Sinking Incident.’ Doosan Dong-A merely referred to it as the ‘Cheonan Incident,’ and the others didn’t mention it at all.”

The Kumsung textbook was mentioned again in relation to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, where it was argued that, “North Korea intended to secure its energy supply and reduce military spending via the security guarantee of nuclear weapons.”

In response, the report stated, “We question the appropriateness of describing the origins of North Korea’s nuclear development based on North Korea’s point of view. The North’s basic aim in developing nuclear weapons was to guarantee the longevity and security of its regime, and to pose a threat to outsiders. Reference to these points would have been more appropriate.”
 
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