SEOUL – South Korea’s elementary and secondary school students will spend more hours studying about the history of a pair of islets controlled by their country but claimed by Japan, Yonhap News Agency reported Tuesday, citing an education ministry official.
“We’ve decided to make it mandatory for all schools to teach students Dokdo history in line with Japan turning right to flare conflicts further,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying, using the Korean name for the Takeshima islets.
Starting this year, young South Korean students must undergo about 10 hours of instruction on the islets annually.
South Korea introduced the curriculum about the islets in 2011 “to give students a correct historical and territorial view,” but had not previously regulated how long schools must spend on the lessons, Yonhap said.
In related news, South Korea will also start offering on Friday history and culture programs on the islets at the Independence Hall history museum in Cheonan for about 2,900 people a year, according to the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.
The hall commemorates the Korean independence movement against Japan’s colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula.
In recent days, anti-Japanese sentiment has risen on the heels of a protest lodged by Seoul last Friday over the sending of a Japanese central government official for the first time to a local government ceremony commemorating the day the islands were incorporated into Shimane Prefecture in 1905.
On Monday, a group of self-employed business owners in South Korea said they would boycott Japanese goods beginning Friday in response to the dispatch of the official to the ceremony.