12 Feb 2018

Literature textbooks warn children against terrorism

Recently published textbooks are mixing current politics with school curriculum, causing students to learn about terrorism and migration in a dangerously simplistic way.

Ivett Körösi
Ivett Körösi Nepszava, Hungary
Source: Nepszava
Literature textbooks warn children against terrorism - NewsMavens

Why this story matters:

When I learned as a child about Miklos Toldi, a folk hero in Hungarian history, his story served as an example of serious moral dilemmas. In the story, he accidentally kills a man, but he is eventually redeemed. 

“Does killing someone make that person a murderer?” -- our literature teacher asked.

It has been almost two decades since I learned about Toldi, but the curriculum has changed -- a lot.

In a new literature textbook, students learn that "the act of Toldi should be condemned the same way  we disapprove of terrorism […] a cornered, humiliated dog will eventually bite."

What does Toldi have to do with terrorism? This is certainly the latest example of mixing politics into the school curriculum.

Hungarian children are learning about migration, terrorism and Islam through simplistic depictions. The narrative is clear: the "others" are threatening our homeland.


Details from the story:

  • The president of the Professional Association of Textbook Publishers (TANOSZ), Peter Kereszty, has said it's “not a good idea” to explain terrorism through the story of Toldi.
  • Kereszty drew a parallel between this case and similar ones that were common in the Communist era.
  • This was not the first example of this kind of indoctrination. A geography textbook suggested that the most important information about Italy was the migration crisis.
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