Concerning Korean history, education institutions investigated whether students knew the year of the Korean War. In one class, less than 30% of the students answered the question correctly. It is regrettable that so many do not know the year of the war considered the greatest tragedy in Korean history. History education in Korea has not been properly organized. I asked the students why they did not know. They said that in middle and high schools, history courses are not mandatory but elective.
Since 2017, Korea has chosen the national history subject to be a required exam on the SAT. Why do young Koreans not know Korean history well? The answer is wrong educational priorities.
Let's examine the history education goals of our country. The first is knowledge of historical facts and concepts. This is to distinguish Korean history from each era and to understand basic concepts related to the universality of world history in the political economy and the social culture of each era. The second is an interpretation of historical data. By gathering and organizing historical data, and analyzing and synthesizing it, you can make a reasonable historical interpretation. The third is an understanding of the historical situation. It is a comprehensive understanding of the historical situation in the political, economic, social and cultural aspect of each era in relation to the universality of the world.
Former US President Barack Obama repeatedly praised the Korean education system during his tenure and argued that the US education should be improved. It is right to think of education as a tool of national economic development but this is not the purpose of history education. General education should be accompanied by personality and history education that has a proper national view. Personality education enables people to live personally, and history education is an education that enables people to have the right attitudes and thoughts about the nation.
Internationally Korea has become a recognized advanced economy. The national income for each person exceeded $20,000 per year. So why does Korea rank so high among other countries in suicide, divorce, rape according to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development OCED. Why are our happiness index ranked 94 out of 125 in the world? The problem is wrong educational priorities. All elementary, middle and high school education in Korea is focused on college entrance examination. Therefore, students memorize the history course mechanically for their examinations and then quickly forget. Because of this, students have no idea when the Korean War took place and what this war meant.
I hope that students learn about Korean history in Korea's elementary, middle, and high schools so that their knowledge of Korean history and a firm national government are engraved in their minds.