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Gov't to finish collecting opinions on state-authored history textbooks

The South Korean government is set to finish collecting public opinions on the draft versions of the controversial state-authored history textbooks Friday.

Critics demand the cancellation of their publication, which they claim are designed to educate students with the conservative government's views of history.

The Ministry of Education plans to announce its decision early next week whether to go ahead with its plan to use them starting next year.

Since it unveiled the pilot editions late last month, the ministry has gathered public opinions to correct errors.

As of Wednesday, it has received 2,511 opinions, with 1,438 related to the content and 52 to typos. More than 980 expressed their approval or disapproval of state authorship.

The opinion gathering will end Friday at midnight. The ministry plans to produce the final version of the textbooks by January.

The Park Geun-hye government has pushed for the state-issued textbooks to fix what it called predominantly left-leaning content in existing private publications and to forge a "common understanding" of history.

Opponents said the government should not dictate the way history is written and taught. Calls for cancellation swelled especially after Park was impeached on Dec. 9 over a massive political scandal.

Some observers raise the possibility of delaying their use by one year. But Education Minister Lee Joon-sik recently said that the publication must proceed "regardless of the political situation." (Yonhap)