Beijing bans foreign textbooks in primary, junior high schools as regulation continues
Published: Aug 11, 2021 12:40 AM
Students at Beijiao Qunli Primary School in Foshan, South China's Guangdong Province  Photo: IC

Students at Beijiao Qunli Primary School in Foshan, South China's Guangdong Province Photo: IC

Beijing education authorities have banned the use of foreign textbooks in primary and junior high schools in the Chinese capital, which is seen by experts as the latest development in China's regulations on schools' use of teaching materials. 

The ban was announced in a document on textbook regulation that the Beijing Municipal Education Commission issued on Monday. 

According to the document, the textbooks that the city schools use will be written based on the national curriculum and reviewed by authorities. Educational organs in each Beijing district will announce the list of textbooks selected and determined for the students.

The teaching materials for primary and junior high schools in the city must follow the state education guidelines, it said. 

Foreign textbooks will not be allowed in the teaching of primary and junior high school students, while foreign textbooks used in Beijing's high schools must be in accordance with relevant national and municipal policies. 

Such a ban was previously mentioned in a national regulation on the management of school teaching materials that China's Ministry of Education (MOE) issued in January 2020. This regulation was believed to help improve teaching quality, build academic autonomy and protect the copyright of overseas books.

However, enforcement of the ban varied from city to city at the time, said an insider in the textbook publishing industry for primary and secondary schools surnamed Liu. He said that Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, was among the cities that implemented the ban more strictly after the MOE's regulation came out. 

Liu noted that foreign textbooks are used more in private schools for English classes. Some schools choose to use such books for students with different learning needs. 

China has been regulating on the use of teaching materials in schools providing nine-year compulsory education, said Chu Zhaohui, a research fellow at the National Institute of Education Sciences. 

Beijing's new ban on foreign textbooks is a fresh move following the MOE's regulation issued in 2020, he told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Liu said that Beijing's action showed that the capital will take the lead in implementing the national education guideline. 

A guideline on further reducing the burden of students in compulsory education and after-school training that the State Council, the cabinet, issued on July 26, said that overseas courses would be strictly banned in private tutoring. VIPKID, a leading private education agency in China, said on Saturday that it would suspend all courses administered by foreign-based tutors.