The Chinese Ministry of Education has launched a “comprehensive” inspection of school textbooks to remove unapproved alterations or foreign content, state media reported late on Wednesday, amid a push to combat Western influence in schools.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has overseen a drive to reassert the Chinese Communist Party, its ideology and its history at the center of education, and to promote patriotism in the place of ideas that the party considers Western.
The sweep by the ministry, which is to run until Oct. 15, will “correct and dispose of” illegal foreign or self-written courses used instead of state-approved materials in China’s nine-year compulsory education period, Xinhua news agency said.
“Recently, it has been discovered that some companies that write and publish textbooks have without permission altered the content of certain textbooks and certain schools are using their own textbooks in the place of national textbooks,” the Teaching Materials Bureau told Xinhua.
From next year’s spring term onward, the ministry is to continue to make follow-up checks and random inspections, and any serious cases of schools still found to be using unapproved content can be held accountable by law, Xinhua said.
Attempts by the Chinese Communist Party to make love of the motherland and its own history and ideology a core part of the nation’s education system have increasingly come up against a flourishing private-school sector, and an interest in alternative or foreign education among middle-class families.
In response, the Chinese government has ramped up oversight of schooling with new regulations guiding textbook content and private schooling.
Xi has called for greater “ideological guidance” in Chinese universities and has launched efforts to revamp mandatory ideology classes that teach about Marxism, Mao Zedong (毛澤東) Thought and Xi’s own signature ideology.
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