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Life Skills Included in China's Compulsory Education Curriculum

By RAN ZHENGICHONGQING|May 08,2022

Chongqing- The Ministry of Education has just issued the Life Skills Curriculum Standards for Compulsory Education (2022 edition), which set the life skill course as an independent curriculum. The classes will officially become part of the curriculum in primary and secondary schools from September, with some schools in Chongqing having already made preparations.

Students of Renhejie Primary School are observing the plants they grow

Students of Renhejie Primary School are observing the plants they grow. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

Ten objectives in the life skills curriculum

According to the standards, the course has ten objectives: cleaning and hygiene, sorting and organizing, cooking and nutrition, agricultural labor, experience, application of new technology, and volunteer services. They have been formulated according to different school stages.

Starting from the first grade in primary school, students need to learn how to cook, including washing vegetables, steaming buns, and boiling eggs and dumplings. When graduating from primary school, they should know how to cook simple dishes like scrambled eggs with tomatoes, fried eggs, and stewed bone soup. Junior high school students will be required to design recipes for daily meals and make lunch or dinner independently.

In agricultural skill courses, pupils need to learn how to grow plants and raise small animals. Junior high school students should experience local typical farming works like planting and breeding and carry out labor practices such as aquaculture and paddy field breeding.

News that primary and secondary school students will learn cooking in September became one of the top trending topics on Sina Weibo, a major Chinese social media, attracting more than 300 million views.

Won the support of Parents

Parents in Chongqing have expressed their views. Zhang Huijuan, whose child is a student of Jinzhou Primary School, said that learning about farming and raising poultry will help children acquire skills and cultivate perseverance. “I was born and raised in a rural area. I know that farming is hard. Growing vegetables and raising poultry takes a lot of time and effort.” Zhang said that as her family had lived in the city for a long time, her child rarely had access to farming, so she appreciated and supported the school’s efforts in creating such learning conditions.

“Friedrich Engels revealed the essence of labor by saying ‘labor creates man himself,'” said Yang Langlang, principal of Chongqing Renmin Primary School. She often told students that only by experiencing the hardship of farming can they genuinely appreciate the value of food.

Yang noted that sweat and sore muscles in life skills would help children grow and learn the basic rules of life about cultivating and harvesting, giving and receiving. Only on this basis can they develop good qualities like diligence, sureness, and tenacity.

“A good family education should be that parents and children grow together, learn together, work together, play together, experience setbacks, and perk up together,” said Wang Lei, a special consultant of the Family and Community Education Committee of the Chongqing Education Institute. She believes that with the recognition and support of parents, the school’s life skill education will win affirmation and praise from the public.

Life skills education has become a new highlight of education reform as part of the “double reduction” policy to reduce homework and time spent on extra-curricular classes or private after-school tutoring.

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