UPDATE : 2019.11.19 TUE 11:52
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Students, parents rally against state-authored history textbooks

Dozens of students and parents rallied at a high school in this southeastern city Tuesday for two consecutive days in protest against its adoption of state-authored history textbooks.

Munmyeong High School in Gyeongsan, 331 kilometers southeast of Seoul, was designated by the government as the only institution to test the controversial textbooks which were rejected by all other schools amid controversy over the authors' alleged rightist interpretation of events in the nation's modern history.

A set of history textbooks were introduced by the conservative Park Geun-hye administration to correct what it viewed as a left-leaning, pro-North Korea bias in private publishers' textbooks. They are to be formally released next year.

Liberals have slammed the state-issued texts for glorifying the military regime of Park's father Park Chung-hee who ruled the country for 18 years after a coup until he was assassinated in 1979.

Munmyeong is the only school to apply for the textbooks' use and was named Monday by the Ministry of Education as an experimental school. The school will receive 196 copies along with a subsidy of 10 million won (US$8,800).

"The principal asked (teachers) to give him time until Thursday, but I don't know what will become different then," said one student who participated in the protest while on spring break. "I hope our school withdraws its application now so that everything can return to normal."

Students hold up signs to protest against the use of state-authored history textbooks at Munmyeong High School in Gyeongsan, 331 kilometers southeast of Seoul on Feb. 21, 2017. (Yonhap)

The school had planned to distribute the new textbooks to this year's freshmen who had an orientation session earlier in the day, but the books did not arrive in time. In South Korea, the academic year begins in March.

The ministry plans to distribute the textbooks for free to schools that still wish to use them as supplementary educational materials.

Park So-yeon  edt@koreapost.com

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