In­ter­na­tional school cur­ricu­lum pro­motes vol­un­teerism among Shang­hai studnets

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG HONGYI in Shang­hai wanghongyi@chi­

The in­creas­ingly popular in­ter­na­tional cur­ricu­lum in Shang­hai’s schools is ex­pected to en­cour­age more stu­dents to par­tic­i­pate in so­cial ser­vices and vol­un­teer work, which has long been lack­ing in the coun­try’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

Last year, Shang­hai ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties an­nounced the im­ple­men­ta­tion of an in­ter­na­tional cur­ricu­lum on a trial ba­sis at 21 high schools — 11 public and 10 pri­vate. The schools of­fer 18 lev­els of in­ter­na­tional cour­ses, such as A-level (Gen­eral Cer­tifi­cate of Ed­u­ca­tion Ad­vanced Level), AP (Ad­vanced Place­ment) and IBDP (In­ter­na­tional Bac­calau­re­ate Di­ploma Pro­gram).

Of­fi­cials said the in­tro­duc­tion of in­ter­na­tional cur­ricu­lum would help di­ver­sify the school syl­labus, meet­ing the var­i­ous needs of stu­dents, but also help fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion re­form and im­prove the city’s ed­u­ca­tion level.

“One part of the in­ter­na­tional cur­ricu­lum is the re­quire­ment of stu­dents’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in so­cial ser­vice projects. It’s an im­por­tant fac­tor for over­seas col­leges to eval­u­ate a stu­dent’s so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity aware­ness and com­mit­ment to so­ci­ety, but th­ese are of­ten ig­nored by Chi­nese schools,” said Li Xia, a staff mem­ber with the Canada-based so­cial en­ter­prise Me To We.

Me To We of­fers so­cially con­scious and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly prod­ucts and life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ences to young peo­ple. Its public ser­vice plat­form We365 en­cour­ages stu­dents to take daily pos­i­tive ac­tions to make them­selves, com­mu­nity, and the world bet­ter. It helps stu­dents build their so­cial port­fo­lios for school and work re­sumes, and watch their im­pact grow by track­ing their vol­un­teer hours.

Me To We re­cently an­nounced the launch of the AP/We365 com­pre­hen­sive ser­vice pro­gram by work­ing with the Amer­i­can Col­lege Board, a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion work­ing to ex­pand ac­cess to higher ed­u­ca­tion.

Each year, the Col­lege Board helps more than 7 mil­lion stu­dents pre­pare for a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion to col­lege through pro­grams and ser­vices in col­lege readi­ness and col­lege suc­cess — in­clud­ing the SAT and the Ad­vanced Place­ment Pro­gram.

The public ser­vice projects will ben­e­fit more Chi­nese stu­dents as the in­ter­na­tional cur­ricu­lum be­comes more popular in the coun­try, said An­nie Zhang, head of Me To We China.

“It’s not just a char­ity work. Th­ese public ser­vice pro­grams help us dis­cover our po­ten­tial and abil­ity to change our­selves and the world,” said Wu Ji, an 11th-grade stu­dent from Shang­hai World For­eign Lan­guage Mid­dle School. He par­tic­i­pated in some ser­vice projects in He­bei and Fu­jian prov­inces or­ga­nized by We365, help­ing lo­cal peo­ple.

“It’s a big progress for We365 to be cov­ered into AP pro­gram. I think mean­ing­ful vol­un­teer work and char­ity pro­grams will have more sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on a per­son than the knowl­edge learned from text­books,” he said.

On the Chi­nese main­land, the con­cept of vol­un­teerism and char­ity has long been ab­sent from the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem where aca­demic per­for­mance of­ten takes top pri­or­ity. The sit­u­a­tion has be­gun to change in re­cent years as the coun­try’s ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties have said the vol­un­teer work should be in­te­grated into school ed­u­ca­tion, and stu­dents’ so­cial ser­vice record should work as a ref­er­ence for en­ter­ing col­leges.

“I’d like to en­cour­age my son to par­tic­i­pate in more vol­un­teer work. I think it will help chil­dren to see more and learn more, not just limited to text­books. Th­ese ser­vice projects help young peo­ple in­crease their prob­lem­solv­ing abil­i­ties, and keep be­ing con­nected to the so­ci­ety,” said Zhong Dan­dan, a mother of a high school stu­dent.

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