The Korean government is stepping up school education on Dokdo, about a week after the Japanese government approved high school textbooks that claim the easternmost islets as Japanese territory.
Seoul’s education ministry said it distributed supplementary textbooks on Dokdo to all elementary, middle and high schools to be used during the designated classes on the islets in the new semester which began in March.
“The education on Dokdo is to raise students’ awareness of the necessity for guarding our territorial rights over Dokdo and the history of strong responses against Japan’s territorial claim,” said a ministry official.
The islets, which lie in the body of water that divides the Korean Peninsula and Japan, have been a thorny issue between the two countries as Japan has continuously made claims to its sovereignty.
South Korea has a small police detachment on the islets, effectively controlling them.
The supplementary textbooks titled “Get to know Dokdo right” will be distributed to students in all six grades in elementary schools nationwide in April.
They have been already issued to third graders in middle schools and high school freshmen in February so that each school can implement Dokdo-themed classes from March.
Schools are recommended to conduct classes on Dokdo for up to 10 hours a year.
The book features Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo, its geographical importance and natural resources as well as global promotion efforts for Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo.
A series of special exhibitions on Dokdo are expected to be held across the country starting from the National Science Museum in Daejeon on Tuesday.
The Dokdo exhibitions feature historical facts as well as ecology and technology related to Dokdo residents’ living.
They will continue to be used for education materials for citizens after the exhibitions.
A total of 65 schools including three Korean schools in foreign countries are designated as a focal point in Dokdo education.
The ministry plans to expand the Dokdo visit program from college students to high school students this year and expects about 700 students to visit the islets per year.
It plans to open a Dokdo lab at the Northeast Asian History Foundation, a state-run history research institute that studies Dokdo, in August to raise awareness of Dokdo among students as well as ordinary citizens.
By Lee Woo-young (email@example.com