Fifth grade primary school students in Zhejiang Province will attend classes on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) starting from this semester. The first 100,000 textbooks will appear in classes soon, with another 600,000 in print, Qianjiang Evening News reported on September 11.
The province has become the country's first to introduce TCM knowledge as a required course in primary schools, which triggered heated online debate between TCM supporters and Western medicine advocates.
Parents in favor of the idea said TCM represents a fundamental aspect of Chinese culture and that their children will benefit by forming good routines and exercising more after learning the knowledge. However, some said it is way too hard for adults, let alone for primary school students. Instead, lessons on first-aid and sexual education are more urgent.
A member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference suggested blending TCM knowledge into primary and middle school textbooks during the CPPCC and NPC sessions in 2011, as a way to cultivate national self-confidence and pride for the country's teenagers by conveying the culture and philosophy contained in the knowledge, said Fang Jianqiao, chief editor of the TCM textbook and principal of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University.
Fang also said the State Council planned to include basic knowledge about TCM in the curriculum of compulsory education before 2030, according to an outline on TCM development issued last year.
Fang said the textbooks are especially compiled for primary school students incorporating historical stories and fairy tales, so they're clear and easy to understand. Textbooks for middle school are currently being compiled.
Science teachers who will teach the TCM lessons were trained by professors from the Chinese Medical University at the end of August.