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New schoolbooks showcase country's ancient traditions

2015/4/2 18:26:51   source:China Daily

  A set of textbooks designed to help high school students learn about traditional Chinese culture is to be published soon, Beijing Times reported on Monday.

  The books are the first national-level works of their kind and have been developed by a working group that promotes traditional culture. They will be used by students from autumn this year, the report said.

  The set contains four classics from ancient times. Two of the works, Confucian Analects and Mencius, are for 10th-grade students, while the other two, Great Learning and Dao De Jing, will be used by 11th graders.

  Students will study the full text of Dao De Jing, a Taoist classic written by philosopher Laozi during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), and explore themes raised in the other books.

  The initiative follows a series of steps the authorities have taken in recent years to spread and promote traditional Chinese culture on campus.

  Last April, the Ministry of Education released a series of guidelines requiring the inclusion of more information about traditional culture in primary and middle school textbooks, especially those used for subjects such as Chinese language, history, art and physical education.

  The guidelines said students' knowledge of traditional culture will be tested in the senior high school entrance examination and the gaokao, the college entrance exam.

  Zhang Jian, the working group's secretary-general, told Beijing Times that, as well as developing the textbooks, his team is also trying to find effective ways to test students on their knowledge of traditional culture. Asking students to compose couplets and poetry may be one of the types of question included in future exams, he said.

  Chu Zhaohui, a senior researcher at the National Institute for Education Sciences, said, "The basic education system hasn't attached enough importance to the learning of traditional culture for quite a long time, and the textbooks are a beneficial effort to reverse that situation."

  Micro-bloggers welcomed the move, with one named Canotty saying, "It's an initiative to bring Chinese traditional culture back." Another, named Ox-king, said, "I strongly support it."

  Chu said teachers using the books should consider individual differences between students, as they do not all have a good knowledge of traditional texts.

  "Learning traditional culture is not solely about reciting texts - it's about utilizing ancient wisdom to solve current problems," he added.

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