Primary Science Education in China
This chapter reviews the state of primary science education in China and those factors or policies that have been most closely associated with its development in the country especially from major science curriculum reforms since the 2000s. We examined policies that had influenced curricula from the early years to current calls for quality education (including that of assessment) that advances national science and technology goals. Reforms since 2004 have been extensive with most primary schools now adopting new science curriculum standards and textbooks. Production of the latter has been prolific with many alternatives available that are supported by teaching handbooks. The influential “A long-term plan on education reform and development (2010–2020)” promoted the use of scientific experiments, practices, and skills training in science, which was a significant development. Apart from describing how China has tried to ameliorate the urban-rural disparities in education, we discuss how science has been promoted actively through informal science learning initiatives here and through the popular Learning by Doing and Learn to Think programs. We describe some of the success of these important projects but cast a critical eye on their challenges of implementation too. Because teachers are the primary agents of change, we devote space to explain how teachers here are trained at preservice and in-service levels. Supporting professional development, the National Training Plan has organized capacity building workshops on various topics as well as those that integrate teaching theory with classroom practice and collaborative discussions of teaching experiences. We close this chapter by describing how science curriculum is managed in China and some feedback by learners on the former.
KeywordsScience education Primary science China Curriculum Education equity Education policy
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