chapter  3
14 Pages

Introduction to the New Curriculum Reform in China

The ‘New Curriculum Reform’ (NCR) is the eighth education reform in Mainland China since 1949. The preparation of the reform started back in 1997 when the Ministry of Education (MOE) organised a large-scale investigation of compulsory education (nine years in China from primary to junior secondary) that culminated in a 21st Century Education Revitalising Action Plan (Zhong and Tu, 2013). Preparations included forming groups to set curriculum standards for school subjects, determining curriculum standards and eliciting the opinions of academics, experts and educators, etc. A seminal document that officially launched the new education reform is the Outline of the Curriculum Reform for Basic Education (Trial) (Jichu jiaoyu kecheng gaige gangyao (shixing), hereinafter referred to as the ‘2001 document’) (MOE, 2001a; also see MOE, 2001b). Accompanying the 2001 document were other official documents covering various aspects of the reform, commentaries in the form of books and essays, and an online platform China Education Resource Service Platform (zhongguo jiaoyu ziyuan fuwu pingtai) for educators to share resources (www.cersp.com), etc.1 This chapter focuses on the 2001 document by elucidating and analysing its contents with respect to educational borrowing from the West.