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Textbook publisher claims schools' refusal to use its material a result of 'witch hunt'

Jan. 5, 2014 - 20:49 By 최희석

A local publisher of a history textbook that is accused of containing right-leaning ideological biases claimed Sunday that progressive civic groups and politicians are engaging in a "witch hunt" to prevent its material from being taught in classrooms.

Kyohak Publishing told Yonhap News Agency that its textbooks passed the inspections system set up by the education ministry and could be taught in schools.

It said efforts by certain progressive groups can only be seen as an attempt to paint the books as being "wrong" when there is really no problem with the content.

"This can only be seen as a manipulation of public opinion to engage in a witch hunt," a representative for the publisher said.

He then said that to pressure schools to cancel the textbooks that are scheduled to be taught can only be viewed as unwillingness by people to tolerate any views they disagree with.

"The most serious problem is that there has been outside interference in the decision-making process that compelled schools to reassess their positions on teaching out of textbooks," the representative said.

He argued that the current impasse is just another case of the ideological divide that runs throughout South Korean society.

Conservatives have raised issue with the current "left-leaning" textbooks that were introduced under liberal administrations. Moves to change materials have triggered court battles between the education ministry, local school authorities and writers of the textbooks.

So far many schools that originally opted for the Kyohak books have rescinded their decision in the face of protests from liberal parents and civic groups.

The publishing company, meanwhile, said that it will hold a meeting of senior managers and outline its official position on recent developments. (Yonhap News)