Sunday, October 24, 2010

Terrible Textbooks

Two stories in the education field today, both concerning textbooks.

1) EBS texts get failing grade for accuracy, blasts a JoongAng Daily headline, for a story about how utterly wracked with wrong answers, many or no right answers, grammar and spelling errors, are this year's Korean SAT prep text from EBS (Educational Broadcasting System).
“We are trying our best to reduce errors, but we are aware there are still many problems,” said EBS President Kwak Duk-hoon in a statement. “Effective methods will be used to reduce the errors.”
Kwak was forced to apologize after a deluge of complaints from students who said they encountered wrong answers to questions in EBS textbooks. The official count of errors provided by EBS and from a report released during an audit by the National Assembly this month was 556, more than seven times last year’s error count. The number reported on EBS’ Web site by users has totaled 2,300 this year.

I don't know what "effective methods" will be used, but in the English segments, they could benefit from actual English speakers--and then listen to what they say!

2) From Korea's worst English-language reporter, Kang Shin-who of the Korea Times, comes a story about eliminating gender-bias in Korean social studies and other textbooks. Ironically, Kang is usually about creating and affirming bias, so this story is a change for him (I'll let you Google the man's name and read for yourself).

The coverage starts off pretty tamely, covering a workshop session of the national Human Rights Commission:
During the session, the agency pointed out that males in textbooks are still portrayed as the main characters, while females play passive roles. “Men do public and important work in the books, while women usually take care of domestic affairs and spend money. This could cause children to have a prejudice regarding gender roles,” said a commission official.
Also, the agency said males are depicted as “troublesome” and “impulsive,” while their counterparts are described as “virtuous” and “honest.” “Although these cases don’t directly discriminate against males and females, they could further create stereotypes on ‘male jobs’ and ‘female jobs’, restricting employment opportunities for men or women,” it said.
But in the next graf, we find this:
The agency also presented some expressions that were against human rights. Homosexual lovers, who are usually addicted to drugs and criminals, are described as deviant people in high school textbooks. “This could generate social prejudices against those people,” the agency said. [Emphasis mine.]
It is possible I'm misreading it, but it looks as if the boldface phrase is content provided by the reporter and not by the HR agency. Right?

At it once again, Mr. Kang? Homosexuals are usually drug-addicted criminals? And Korea Times reporters are usually xenophobic, pathological liars with sexual identity issues.

1 comment:

kevin.thurston said...

that's one hell of a relative clause