The school -- Munmyeong High School in Gyeongsan, North Gyeongsang Province -- is among three that applied for the pilot program, which the ministry sought to promote with cash subsidies.
Of the two other schools that signed up for it, Osan High School withdrew its application amid fierce opposition from its students and staff. The other, Gyeongbuk Aviation High School, was rejected by the ministry for failing to meet the procedural requirement.
Set to be issued next year, the state-commissioned history textbooks were a pet project of President Park Geun-hye. It received the cold shoulder from experts and the public, as it was seen as the conservative president’s attempt to influence future generations to have a favorable interpretation of the country’s past military regimes, including the one led by her late father Park Chung-hee, who ruled the country from 1963 to 1979.
Around 170 students of Munmyeong High and their parents took part in a rally, calling on the school to withdraw its application.
“It is not right for the government to unilaterally decide what to teach in history,” a student’s father said at the rally. “The headmaster’s decision is completely against the opinions of students, teachers and parents.”
Earlier this month, Education Minister Lee Joon-sik said the government would run the trial period before officially releasing the new textbook. He also said the government would offer subsidies to schools that wish to join.
The push to replace existing history textbooks with state-authored ones lost momentum after President Park’s parliamentary impeachment late last year.
By Bak Se-hwan (firstname.lastname@example.org)