Secondary one history textbook amended to clear up confusion
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said the Secondary One History textbook has been amended to prevent further confusion after it was pointed out that there was an error.
The textbook is called "The Living Past - History of Ancient India, China and Southeast Asia (Second Edition)".
Some two months ago, reports surfaced pointing out that a Chinese term was wrongly used in the textbook and was not spotted for seven years.
"Let me clarify that no Chinese character was used in the textbook. Instead, the Chinese pinyin 'shi' was used. The misunderstanding arose when the person who spotted this translated and interpreted 'shi' as in the Chinese character 'bo shi', and our consultation with authoritative sources have revealed competing interpretations and translations of 'shi', which could either be 'shi' as in 'bo shi', or as in the other character, 'xing shi' - the latter referring to a broad category of nobility, including land owners. Now, this latter usage of the word 'shi' is an ancient usage and is not commonly used today. So although the textbook's presentation of 'shi' could be retained, to prevent further confusion, MOE has decided that the sentence would be amended to simply 'feudal lords', as an English textbook. So amending it will not affect students' understanding of ancient China's governance and social structures."
Mr Heng added that amendment stickers have been reprinted and the changes will be reflected in the next reprint of the textbook.
He assured the House of the quality of instructional materials, explaining that a panel of professionals review the materials several times before they are approved for use in schools.
The panel includes curriculum specialists, teachers and academics.
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