Textbook helps kids to think

Your article "Buthelezi hits bias in textbook" in Sowetan of December 10 refers.

Your article "Buthelezi hits bias in textbook" in Sowetan of December 10 refers.

The national curriculum statement for grades 10 to 12 states that one of the purposes of history is to "encourage and assist constructive debate through careful evaluation of a broad range of evidence and diverse points of view".

Oxford in search of History Grade 12 does exactly that. It provides pupils with a variety of sources representing different viewpoints. Instead of being told what is fact, pupils are encouraged to study different sources and decide for themselves.

The Zapiro cartoon to which Mangosuthu Buthelezi refers in the article was widely published round the 1994 elections. It forms part of an activity in which pupils are asked to analyse bias. The book in no way suggests that the cartoonist's opinion is fact.

Identifying bias is one of the skills essential to studying history in the new curriculum. The textbook provides pupils with skills boxes which teaches them to identify bias. The activity on this cartoon refers pupils to the skills box before analysing this source.

The teacher or pupils using the textbook can expect a textbook which presents a thorough coverage of South African and world history. We are committed to providing quality material that embraces the new curriculum and offers pupils and teachers materials to encourage critical thinking skills.

Lieze Kotze, MD: Oxford University Press Southern Africa, Cape Town