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Government delays implementation of state-authored history textbooks to 2018

The South Korean government said Tuesday it will postpone the implementation of the controversial state-authored history textbooks by one year to 2018 amid growing demand to nullify the publication.

Withdrawing its original plan to implement the textbooks next year, the Ministry of Education said it will adopt the textbooks the following year. Schools will be given the right to choose from among the new textbook and other private textbooks issued under the current system.

"We will secure autonomy, diversity and improve the overall quality of the textbooks by letting schools choose between the approved private textbooks and the state-authored textbooks starting in 2018," Education Minister Lee Joon-sik said at a press briefing held at the government complex in Sejong, 121 kilometers south of Seoul.

During a month-long opinion gathering period that ended on Friday, the ministry received a total of 3,807 opinions, with 1,630 related to the content and 67 to typos.

The ministry plans to produce the final version of the textbooks in January.

The Park Geun-hye administration 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 the book's cancellation swelled especially after Park was impeached on Dec. 9 over a massive political scandal. (Yonhap)