Millions of Chinese students who entered the first year of primary or junior high school in September have received new versions of Chinese language textbooks.
Written by the Ministry of Education, the textbooks attach more importance to traditional Chinese culture, reported Xinhua News Agency.
Textbooks for three-year junior high schools have more content on traditional Chinese articles and poems – 132 in total. They make up 51.7 percent of all the texts. And primary school students’ books contain 129 ancient Chinese articles, which is 30 percent of all the texts.
The articles were chosen from classic prose, essays, historical records, and poetry dating back to the Han, Tang and Song dynasties.
Before the official release, the textbooks were tested in schools across several provinces in 2016, but it turns out that not everyone is a fan.
Some parents have questioned the added emphasis on classical Chinese, which is no longer in use. A father surnamed Li is one of them. His child studies at No 1 Primary School in Shenyang’s Hunnan New District.
“The students are too young to understand so many pieces with classical Chinese language. I am afraid they will lose interest,” he told Xinhua.
However, others welcomed the new books. “Students at that age may not be able to understand classic poetry and essays well, but they are like seeds that will grow one day. The children will benefit sooner or later,” Liu Jinping, a teacher from Henan, told Xinhua.
In fact, the textbooks arrive at a time when ancient Chinese culture is regaining popularity in China.
During this year’s Spring Festival, the Chinese Poetry Conference, a televised poetry competition, was watched by more people in China than many star-studded soap operas or reality shows.
According to Southern Metropolitan Daily, China now has more than 3,000 traditional private schools, as the demand for private education of traditional Chinese culture grows.
“Traditional Chinese culture should not lose its grip on young Chinese people as it is good for their moral development and the cultivation of their character,”JiJiejing, director of the ChengxianGuoxue Institute, told China Daily. Located in Beijing, the institute is well-known for teaching traditional Chinese culture.
“Some wisdom delivered through the Chinese classics might help children deal with the challenges in their own lives,”Ji added.