TCM added to primary school curriculum
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
Each session is a separate story, imparting related Chinese medical knowledge.” Fang Jianqiao, chief editor of the textbook on traditional Chinese medicine for primary school students
brief training session in 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 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.