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Park orders thorough overhaul of school textbooks

President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday ordered a thorough overhaul of school textbooks to make them more explanatory and easier to understand, reaffirming her commitment that questions in college entrance and other exams should not go beyond the levels of school texts.

“Textbooks must improve further if we are going to keep the principle that nothing outside textbooks will appear in tests,” Park said during a Cabinet meeting, referring to one of her campaign pledges on education issues ahead of last year’s election.

Current textbooks are written in such a non-explanatory way that it’s hard for students to understand them unless they rely on additional, private guide books or after-school tutoring, Park said, according to presidential spokeswoman Kim Haing.

She said the government is working on a project to make “kind textbooks” that are reader friendly.

Private tutoring has long been considered a social problem amid overheated competition to get into top colleges in a nation where educational background can make a big difference on jobs and other aspects of lives. The problem has been blamed for aggravating social inequalities as children of poor families cannot afford private tutoring.

During last year’s campaign, Park pledged to ban exam questions outside textbooks.

Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting was the first since Park’s Cabinet was fully formed.

The Cabinet’s formation was completed only last week with the appointment of the final two ministers. The formation was delayed due to a parliamentary standoff over Park’s government reorganization plan and a string of resignations by ministerial nominees over ethical lapses and other matters. (Yonhap News)
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