On October 20-21, an International Seminar on the Reform and Innovation of the Basic Education Curriculum was held by the National Center for School Curriculum and Textbook Development (NCCT) and the Curriculum and Teaching Materials Research Institute under the Chinese Ministry of Education, in association with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with a view to facilitating international exchanges on basic education curricula, keeping pace with global trends in curriculum reform, and consolidating progress on compulsory education curricula reviews. Themed “A Curriculum Embracing the Future: Opportunities and Challenges”, the seminar focused on talent cultivation, curriculum design, and reform of teaching and evaluation practices. Vice Minister of Education Zheng Fuzhi attended and addressed the seminar.
Zheng emphasized the role of curricula as bearers of educational values, goals and substance, hence the importance of reform and innovation to improve talent development and quality of education. China had significantly improved equity and quality in education to ensure well-rounded education grounded in moral values and practical capabilities, through deep reforms in key areas and guaranteed access to education for hundreds of millions of students. Zheng spoke of several particularly successful measures that had been introduced: (1) establishment of bodies and mechanisms to underpin curriculum reform, and open new channels to integrate management and research into decision making, (2) mainstreaming of educational method reform, by accentuating the importance of the curriculum and developing core student competences, (3) stronger guidance in teaching research, through a top-down, five-level teaching research network supporting improvement in teacher performance, and, (4) reinforcement of basic research into pedagogical material development, through establishment of a national research base for curriculum and textbook development and concentrated efforts to optimize teaching materials.
Zheng also stated that extensive international cooperation and exchange were required to achieve higher-level curriculum reform and innovation. He made three proposals. First, curriculum designers should have an accurate understanding of the future needs of students and identify the values, qualities and essential competences required for future social advancement. Second, curriculum development should be designed to take into account student aptitude and diversity, allowing each student to realize their potential, achieve success, and accomplish their dreams. Third, students should be encouraged to study earnestly and effectively, to develop their appetite to learn.
Officials of the MOE Department of National Textbooks and the OECD delivered keynote reports, along with experts and scholars from around the world, including China, Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, and Finland. Over 200 representatives from relevant institutions and MOE affiliated agencies were present at the seminar.