Russian schools could switch to single history textbook in a year – education minister

File Photo of U.S. Diplomat Teaching Class to Russian Students

(Interfax – March 17, 2013) Russian schools could switch to a single history textbook in a year, Education and Science Minister Dmitry Livanov said on Pozner program on Chainmen One.

“A good history textbook, just one, will always give room for analysis, for assessing various theories of what actually happened, and for different historical concepts,” Livanov said.

The history manual is expected to appear in a year, a time sufficient to do the necessary work, he said.

“The new history textbook must encourage students and teachers to think, instead of imposing any one view on them, and develop their analytical skills,” he said.

“I think we really can produce a good history textbook and draw the best Russian historians to this work – not politicians, but historians, scholars. History is a scholarly discipline,” Livanov said.

“A history manual must not interpret events, but list a sequence of historical facts. It is the students and their teachers’ job to assess how these facts are linked and what logic stands behind them, which is an open issue. This is what history classes are intended for,” the minister said.

Livanov announced in early March that a working group comprised of leading historians, public figures and authors of the most popular history manuals, would draw up a single history course.

“We find it extremely important to make historians’ voices heard, not politicians’. History is a scholarly discipline which has its laws,” Livanov said in an interview with Vesti on Saturday program on March 2.

If Russia’s top 20 historians come to terms and write an agreed text each of them will sign, the manual will be trusted by the public, students and teachers, Livanov said.