South Korea's schools will strengthen history education on the easternmost islets of Dokdo under new educational guidelines and open special classes on the issue to counter Japan's repeated territorial claims to the islets, the education ministry said Thursday.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said it has recommended local education offices to specify curricula and guidelines on Dokdo, and instructed them to facilitate special classes in elementary, middle and high schools.
"Although it is not mandatory for the local education offices, we recommended that they have classes (on Dokdo) over 10 hours a year at their discretion," Woo Won-jae, a ministry official, said. "We will notify class guidelines late this month so that district schools can realize the importance of Dokdo education."
The effort is the latest in a series of government moves to strengthen the education of young students on the historical background on the islets, often claimed by Japan.
Dokdo has been effectively controlled by South Korea with a Coast Guard unit stationed there from 1954.
In a related move, the ministry recently completed supervising the editing process of new high school history textbooks, which will be used in March under the new guideline that calls for in-depth references on Dokdo during and after Japanese colonial rule, officials said.
The edited versions of the elementary and middle school textbooks for next year will also include more detailed descriptions on Dokdo, they noted.
Source: Yonhap news