Page turning on history book

Changes to a controversial primary school textbook, whose content had been deemed to give pupils an inaccurate insight into Greek history, are to be made public in the next few days, educationalists have told Kathimerini. «We are waiting for the finished book so that we can go ahead with printing,» said Constantinos Magoulas, president of the Organization for Publishing School Textbooks. «There is time for procedures to be completed as planned but the sooner we get started the better,» Magoulas said, noting that any delays would mean the textbook would not arrive in classrooms for the start of the new academic year in September. Such a delay could also trigger further criticism from those who have exploited the issue of the book’s revision for party political gains, sources told Kathimerini. A ministry spokesman was yesterday upbeat about the development. «We managed to prevent the book from being withdrawn,» he said. The changes to the textbook include 80 of the 81 modifications proposed by an Athens Academy specialist committee. The changes that have been made have not altered «the philosophy of the book,» sources told Kathimerini, adding that all phrases which had been the object of «political exploitation» have been removed. References to the «Cyprus issue» have been changed to the «Cyprus problem» and a description of thousands of Greeks jostling one another to board refugee boats in Asia Minor has been changed to one of desperate Greeks forced to abandon their homes. Apart from changes proposed by the Athens Academy, the book also includes some alterations based on recommendations by the Education Ministry’s Pedagogical Institute. The aim of these recommendations is to make the book easier for pupils to use, sources said. Critics of the original book, which include the Church of Greece, believe that the authors have not provided enough information about key moments in Greek history and have played down the suffering of Greeks at the hands of Ottoman rulers.

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