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History Is a Treasure That Should Not Be Forgotten
Lee Da-young | 승인 2013.05.14 15:39|(242호)

    "Who controls the past dominates the future; who controls the present dominates the past." This sentence is used in 1984 written by George Orwell. It is quite impressive wording for people who are living in the present. It is a quote that emphasizes the importance of understanding history. However, currently young people are pessimistic about learning history. According to the Daehaknaeil Research Laboratory, the rate of university students who don’t know when the Korean War broke out is 54%. This simply means that more than half of our college students don’t understand the impact of a war that has such a fundamental impact on their lives today. Also, they don’t know the seriousness of the political situation, where the tragedy war has occurred several times. So, TheChungdae Post has decided to show the importance of historical understanding and simultaneously take the opportunity to reaffirm the importance of history.

 

Realities of Historical Recognition
    On January 14, 2013, an interesting set of events took place at the Anam Campus of Korea University. Two netizens, who had been debating the historical context of the Gwangju Democratization Movement, decided to meet off-line to handle their disagreement in person. Many people gathered atKorea University to see the fight. This incident started because the netizen, ‘Taejuni’, referred to the Gwangju Democratization Movement as the Gwagju Riot. The netizen, ‘JJKA’, refuted this claim and their disagreement soon led to personal attacks and degrading accusations. Because they could not reach a consensus on-line, they decided to meet off-line and handle it through an old-fashion fight. Eventually, this news reached other sites and it gathered a large audience. Fortunately, the situation wasover without a fight. But, the incident has highlighted the ignorance and distortedhistorical views held by many college students. Questions as to whether or not the “riot” for the Gwangju Democratization Movementbecame the turning point of democracy are often debated on portal sites and chat rooms. In recent years, the word ‘Jeon-Tank’ has spread on the internet. It is a word that means “charismatic leader,” referring to former President Jeon Doo-hwan who rode a tank to achieve democratization and economic growth. Furthermore, followers of Jeon Doo-hwan claim that the Gwangju Bloody Suppression was an obvious result of a national leader by operating martial law. Experts argue the reduction in historical education curriculum has led to this generational lack of knowledge. This is currently predominant analysis in the field of education. Another argument is that education policy was provided by the right-wing agenda and administrated without critique. Prof. Park Tae-gyun of the Graduate School of International Studies at Seoul National University said "Off the progress and conservative, also in the light of an universal value of humanity such as respect for human dignity and the values of democracy, Gwangju Democratization Movement case and evaluation of social consensus is already over." Making an additional remark, "Spreading incorrect recognition of history between 1020 generation means history education is not performed properly." Professor Oh Su-chang of Seoul National University of Korean Historystressed that "Even though we are pressed the claims of people with a historical perspective of some wrong, we should not neglect the education of modern history. Raising the democratic citizenship is the responsibility of the older generation." 

 

Survey of Chungnam University Students’ Historical Understanding
    In order to investigate Chungnam University Students’ historical recognition, The Chungdae Post conducted a survey from March 11 to March 22. We prepared five questions, which are often confused, regarding Korean History. 130 students participated in this survey. The results of the average correct rate and all correct rates are 79% and 34% respectively. The 66% of respondents were upper classmen. This rate is relatively high, considering the average correct rate was 69% which is randomly conducted by the Daehaknaeil Research Laboratory twenty-year olds. However, considering the difficultylevel of each question was low, have upperclassmen participated, these figures didn’t meet our expectations. It means Chungnam University Student's historical understanding is not so high.

 

 

Lee Da-young  ekdud@cnun.ac.kr

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