China has included 16 excerpts from the Analects of Confucius in a major revision of its primary and secondary school Chinese language textbooks.
Approximately 40 percent of the previous edition has been updated to reflect the desire of parents for a renewed focus on the nation’s traditional culture.
In Hunan, Henan, Guangdong and Liaoning and other provincial-level regions, there will be over four million first and seventh graders using these new textbooks when they begin school in September. The new edition will see traditional material accounting for 30 percent of the content in primary textbooks, and a further increase to 40 percent in the secondary school versions.
The traditional material chosen consists of both poetry and essays along with the Analects of Confucius so that children can improve their language and philosophy. The first revision in more than a decade also sees the inclusion of stories about Chinese folk art and ethnic culture, such as paper cutting and the Tibetan Shoton Festival.
The welcomed change comes from the demands of the parents, explains a senior editor of the middle school textbooks who states that “We did so to address the needs of parents, who want their children to learn more about traditional culture.” She further explained, “Many people cannot even understand the language in classical Chinese books, and parents compete to send their children to commercial training centre’s for traditional culture.”