China bans foreign textbooks for primary, middle schools to give system ‘correct political direction’
The regulations stipulate that authors and editors of teaching materials must “hold a firm political stance” in line with that of the Communist Party of China (CPC).Updated: Jan 07, 2020, 23:00 IST
In what seems to be part of Beijing’s continuing efforts to fight western influence on its school curriculum, China on Tuesday banned foreign textbooks from primary and middle schools, state media reports said.
The new regulation issued by the ministry of education (MoE) added that textbook authors and editors who have a “negative” morality should be replaced.
The report indicated that the ministry found that certain schools in China were using foreign textbooks without authorisation, despite the government’s earlier intervention.
The ban comes a little more than a year after Beijing mandated a month-long campaign in October 2018 to remove unapproved or foreign content from school textbooks.
On Tuesday, the MoE said, “…all primary and middle schools, which together make up the country’s nine-year compulsory education period, cannot use teaching materials from overseas”.
A ministry spokesperson was quoted by the news website sixthtone.com as saying that the new guidelines were introduced so that the system adheres to the correct political direction and a value orientation education.
The report, quoting the rules said, “…universities, vocational schools, international high schools, and international programs at domestic high schools are still allowed to use imported teaching materials, as domestic teaching materials aren’t sufficient to meet teaching demands.”
Such institutions, however, will be encouraged to choose versions that have been translated and distributed by Chinese publishers.
“On the other hand, all primary and middle schools, as well as vocational institutions, must adopt the country’s unified teaching materials for Chinese language, history, and politics, which tend to have a strong ideological slant and may involve content related to state sovereignty, security, ethnicity, and religion,” said the regulation as quoted by Sixth Tone.
The regulations stipulate that authors and editors of teaching materials must “hold a firm political stance” in line with that of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The authors of articles selected for inclusion in textbooks should also have “positive historical evaluations and a good social image.”
The reason behind the ban of foreign content could be to ensure that there was no gap whatsoever in shaping academic curriculum according to the CPC’s interpretation of history and events.
Chinese nationalism and patriotism in school curriculum have been in sharp focus under President Xi Jinping.
During a visit to a school in Macau, one of China’s special administrative regions, in December, Xi stressed the need to know history in order to consolidate the foundation of patriotism.
“The 1.4 billion Chinese are so closely united due to the richness of the Chinese civilization and the Chinese spirit, which are the source of cultural confidence,” he told the students.
“One can easily feel a strong sense of national self-esteem and national pride after knowing our uninterrupted history spanning over five millennia,” Xi said.
“And only by knowing the nation’s history of humiliation after the Opium War, can one understand the Chinese people’s strong yearning for national rejuvenation,” he added.