TCM added to pri­mary school cur­ricu­lum

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By SHI XIAOFENG in Hangzhou shixf@chi­

Tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine ed­u­ca­tion has been made part of the pri­mary school cur­ricu­lum in Zhe­jiang prov­ince, a de­ci­sion that has pro­voked heated dis­cus­sion on­line.

The prov­ince has pub­lished the coun­try’s first Chi­nese medicine text­book for pri­mary school stu­dents, and ac­cord­ing to the plan is­sued by the pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion author­ity, fifth graders will learn about TCM start­ing this se­mes­ter.

The two-vol­ume text­book con­sists of 36 ses­sions and stu­dents have to take one course every week within two semesters, Fang Jian­qiao, chief edi­tor of the text­book and head of Zhe­jiang Chi­nese Medical Uni­ver­sity, was quoted as say­ing in Qian­jiang Evening News.

The con­tent in­cludes var­i­ous as­pects of TCM, such as his­tory, health­care, diet, mood, acupunc­ture and mas­sage ther­apy, Fang said.

“Each ses­sion is a sep­a­rate story, im­part­ing re­lated Chi­nese medical knowl­edge. We in­vited pri­mary school Chi­nese teachers to re­vise the text to fit the stu­dents’ lan­guage stan­dards, and to in­crease the read­abil­ity,” Fang added.

A to­tal of 100,000 copies have been sent to schools, and 600,000 more copies are be­ing printed, ac­cord­ing to the press house.

Dongcheng Sec­ond Pri­mary School af­fil­i­ated to Hangzhou Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity is ready to launch the cur­ricu­lum as soon as the school re­ceives the text­book.

“Tra­di­tional Chi­nese medical science has a his­tory of thou­sands of years and it has a whole sys­tem and phi­los­o­phy. It is also a great trea­sure for us. Un­for­tu­nately, young peo­ple and chil­dren know lit­tle about it. The course could help our stu­dents to have more pride in their cul­ture,” said Zheng Jun­hui, head­mas­ter of the school.

But not ev­ery­one liked the de­ci­sion, es­pe­cially those who learned West­ern medicine and do not be­lieve in TCM. Oth­ers are afraid that TCM, in­volv­ing dif­fi­cult con­cepts and the­o­ries, will be dif­fi­cult for the fifth graders to un­der­stand.

Zhi Tingjing, deputy head of the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Ed­u­ca­tional Pol­icy Re­search, said that the fifth graders, usu­ally around 10 or 11 years old, are not yet equipped with knowl­edge to un­der­stand an­cient Chi­nese texts, which TCM ed­u­ca­tion is based on.

Un­named teachers in Hangzhou were also quoted by lo­cal me­dia say­ing that science teachers, who are as­signed to teach the course, would find it dif­fi­cult to ex­plain TCM af­ter re­ceive a brief train­ing Au­gust.

Last year, the State Coun­cil is­sued a guide­line for de­vel­op­ing TCM for the 2016-30 pe­riod, ask­ing de­part­ments to pro­mote TCM cul­ture and knowl­edge, and to in­clude ses­sion

TCM ba­sic knowl­edge in tra­di­tional cul­ture and health cour­ses in pri­mary and mid­dle schools.

Wang Guo­qiang, head of the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine, told China Daily in March that the ad­min­is­tra­tion is work­ing closely with ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties on prepara­tory work, like course de­sign and set­ting train­ing tar­gets and teach­ing meth­ods.

Zheng, the pri­mary school president from Hangzhou, said that chil­dren are of­ten in­volved in TCM ac­tiv­i­ties or treat­ment in their daily lives.

“Some­times par­ents per­suade their chil­dren to eat a more bal­anced diet or take them to do scrap­ing, acupunc­ture or cup­ping. Those all fall un­der tra­di­tional Chi­nese medical cat­e­gories,” she said.

“The course en­ables them to un­der­stand some ba­sic prin­ci­ples and might in­crease their in­ter­est of this tra­di­tional cul­ture. Some stu­dents might de­vote them­selves to study and do fur­ther re­search. It will be good for the tra­di­tional cul­ture,” she added.

The school plans to launch one more se­lec­tive course on Chi­nese herbs and medicine, which is open to stu­dents of all grades.

“One hour each Fri­day af­ter­noon, our teacher will pro­vide more knowl­edge about the herbs to the stu­dents and help them un­der­stand how they work,” said Zheng.

Fang, the text­book’s chief edi­tor, said that they will eval­u­ate the pi­lot pro­gram and con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity of in­tro­duc­ing the course to more grades and mid­dle school stu­dents.

Each ses­sion is a sep­a­rate story, im­part­ing re­lated Chi­nese medical knowl­edge.”

Fang Jian­qiao,

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