Chinese traditional medicine (TCM) education has been made part of the primary school curriculum in Zhejiang province, a decision which provoked heated discussion online.
The province published the country's first Chinese medicine textbook for primary school students. According to the plan issued by the provincial education authority, students in Grade 5 will learn about Chinese traditional medicine starting this semester.
The two-volume textbook consists of 36 sessions and students have to take one course every week within two semesters, Qianjiang Evening News quoted Fang Jianqiao, the chief editor of the textbook and the head of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University.
The content includes every aspect of traditional Chinese medicine, including Chinese medicine foundation, health care, food diet, mood, acupuncture and massage therapy and other practices, said Fang.
"Each session is a separate story, imparting a related Chinese medicine knowledge. We invited the 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 still printing, according to the press house.
When asked whether TCM will be too difficult for primary school students to understand, an official with the provincial education authority told Beijing News that the students will not be tested and the aim is inculcate traditional Chinese culture among the youngsters.
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 its whole system and philosophy. It is also a great treasure for us. Unfortunately, young people and children have less knowledge of it. The course could help our students to have more pride in their culture," said Zheng Junhui, the president of the school.
In Zheng's opinion, the children are often involved in traditional Chinese medicine activities or treatment in their daily life.
"Sometimes parents persuade their children to eat a more balanced diet or take them to do scraping, acupuncture or cupping. They are all under the traditional Chinese medical categories."
"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 in the future. It will be good for the traditional culture," Zheng Junhui told China Daily.
The school plans to launch one more selective course on Chinese Herb 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 starting from this week," said Zheng.
"We will evaluate the pilot program later to consider the possibility of introducing the course to more grades and middle school students," said Fang.