Dear Students: Next Test Will Be on Islets
By Michael Ha
The summer vacation ended last week for the middle and high schools in Korea. And students are once again filling the classrooms across the country.
These students, though, saw some change in their curriculum last week; they were required to take extra classes on Dokdo's geography.
These geography classes on the controversial East Sea islets came courtesy of the ``Geography Community and Network." The group is a nationwide organization that represents geography teachers in public middle and high schools. The new curriculum was implemented in the last week of August, temporarily replacing the regular geography lessons.
The Geography Community and Network stated last week that ``Korean middle and high schools are now back in session. And during the week of Aug. 25 to 30, geography teachers offered lessons focusing on Dokdo's geographical issues. We designated the last week of August as a week for Dokdo lessons."
The group noted that the Dokdo controversy may no longer be in the headlines but added: ``We teachers want to ensure that our students have an accurate understanding of these geographical issues and that our students are fully informed of the ongoing debate."
Additionally, the teachers' group worked in conjunction with the nonprofit Northeast Asian History Foundation to organize an educational camp for students and teachers in August.
The two-day educational event, Aug. 13 and 14, was held in Ulleung-do and Dokdo and attracted participants from across the country. The teachers' group said the event was the first of its kind in the country and noted that the teachers would continue to sponsor and organize similar educational events in the future.
It's not just teachers in Korea who are offering lessons on Dokdo. Efforts are underway overseas to publicize Korea's sovereignty over the islets as well.
In the United States, Korean-American leaders are taking steps to publicize Korea's longstanding sovereignty over Dokdo.
The Federation of Korean Associations, near Washington, D.C., said last Wednesday that the organization's members have started a nationwide campaign that includes printing informational booklets and mailing them to various American government officials and politicians.
The 20-page informational booklet, titled ``Dokdo Is Korean Territory," discusses Dokdo's background and explains how ancient documents and maps back Korea's longstanding sovereignty over the islands. The group said it is sending the booklet to U.S. Congressional lawmakers as well as regional governors and mayors. Also on the mailing list are local public libraries and public schools.
The Federation of Korean Associations stated: ``We feel it is important to tell the American public about these facts. We are working together with local Korean-American groups to mail these materials out locally."