The place, production and management of Religious Textbooks

Byoungchul Ko1,*   

1The Academy of Korean Studies


The studies that have been conducted on religious textbooks so far imply that more interest in textbook research, development of various research topics, and research not limited to individual religions are needed. In accordance with this implication, the purpose of this article is to examine the places of religious textbooks and to identify and improve problems arising from the production and management of textbooks there.

According to this study, first, the place of religious textbooks can be discussed in three positions-national level curriculum, textbook system, and social environment. In these positions, religious textbooks have three meanings - reflective education for religious phenomenon arising from the characteristics of liberal education, teaching and learning in public spaces due to the characteristics of recognized books, and the balanced value of tolerance and justice required in the characteristics of multireligious and multicultural society.

Second, with regard to the production of religious textbooks, religious textbooks share the standards for developing textbooks for pedagogy (especially in curriculum), but in particular, the standards for neutrality of content must be observed. As the scope suggested by the national level curriculum is observed, there are fewer problems that may arise in the composition of the textbook, but the conflict between neutral and apologetic attitudes related to the description of its content can still persist.

Third, with regard to the management of religious textbooks, there are various problems that the situation of schools dealing with textbooks is different, and that the Office of Education consistently raises errors in expression and notation of textbooks. The request sometimes includes advocacy for a particular religion. To solve these problems, it is necessary to investigate the use of religious textbooks by school and to improve the system for requesting revisions by the Ministry of Education and Office of Education.

This study is expected to serve as an opportunity to connect the place of religious textbooks with its production and management. In the future, a number of efforts will be required to ensure that religious textbooks, like other textbooks, have the value to help students in all schools. The efforts include providing opportunities to reflect on religion-related society in textbooks and reviewing educational turn in the content of textbooks. It goes without saying that the effort entails recognizing the direction of religious education as a reflection on religious phenomena, not as an infusion of specific knowledge or values, and actively cooperating with teachers or researchers of other religions.

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