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South Korea makes classes on disputed islets mandatory for students

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 17:19

Seoul: South Korea`s primary and secondary school students will learn more about a pair of islets, controlled by South Korea and claimed by Japan, as part of efforts to strengthen education about the islets, known as Dokdo.
"We`ve decided to make it mandatory for all schools to teach students Dokdo history in line with Japan turning right to flare conflicts further," reported Yonhap news agency, citing an unnamed education ministry official.
Under the ministry`s guidelines, students across the country will receive education on the relevant issues, such as historical facts about the Dokdo islets, background about the conflicts among the neighbours, and the importance of safeguarding them.

Such programs will be implemented starting in the spring semester of this year that begins in March, and each school can allocate the lessons at their own discretion provided they total 10 hours per year.

South Korea introduced the curriculum about the islets in 2011 "to give students a correct historical and territorial view," but had not previously regulated how long schools must spend on the lessons, Yonhap said.

In related news, South Korea will also launch an educational program at Independence Hall on the islets to offer programs on the history and culture of Dokdo for about 2,900 people a year, according to the Ministry of Patriots` and Veterans` Affairs.

The "Dokdo School" will be opened Friday at the hall located in the central city of Cheonnan and built in commemoration of the Korean independence movement against Japan`s colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula.

In recent days, anti-Japanese sentiments have risen on the heels of Seoul lodging a protest with Tokyo last Friday over the sending of a central government official for the first time to a local government ceremony commemorating the day the islands, known as Takeshima in Japanese, were incorporated into Shimane Prefecture in 1905.

On Monday, a group of self-employed business owners in South Korea said it would begin a boycott of Japanese goods, beginning Friday, in response to the dispatch of the official to the ceremony.

"We are also mulling holding an exhibition about Dokdo at an increasing number of schools, including those in small villages, and to publish a guideline book for teachers on how to teach their children about the matter," the official added.


First Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 17:18
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