East China's Zhejiang Province has made traditional Chinese medicine a compulsory subject for grade 5 students. On Monday, local media outlets said TCM textbooks are being printed and will soon be dispatched to the primary schools. Jfdaily comments:
Zhejiang is the first province to make TCM a compulsory subject in schools. According to reports, the province even plans to introduce the course in middle schools, and many middle school teachers are undergoing training at Zhejiang Chinese Medical University to learn how to teach TCM to young children.
The move has aroused mixed feelings among netizens. Some say TCM is empirical in nature, that is, based on practical experience, not scientific proof. Others fear that some students might try some unproven herbs to cure an ailment. Such doubts are unnecessary because the TCM course in the primary schools will be mainly about how to prevent diseases and stay healthy.
Besides, national policies support the popularization of TCM knowledge among primary and secondary school students. Last year, the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a five-year plan for the strategic development of TCM, which emphasized that knowledge about TCM should be spread to campuses. Of course, teaching TCM in primary schools is a major challenge. Part of the TCM knowledge is linked with superstitions because our ancestors had limited knowledge of the world and our bodies. These parts should be dropped from the primary school course.
Which would require local education authorities to train the teachers to teach TCM in the spirit of modern science. TCM is part of traditional Chinese culture and we should not be shy of our past, but its teaching method should be scientific.