Shandong Province Introduces Gender Equality Classes in Schools

June 16, 2017
By Yao Jian and Wang DanqingEditor: Rong Chen

Authorities in east China's Shandong Province recently introduced courses on gender equality into local primary and secondary education for the first time.

Prior to the initiative, Shandong Women's Federation and the office of Shandong Provincial Working Committee on Children and Women promoted the issue among the province's Party schools (administrative colleges), universities, government departments and communities at various levels.

For example, in a primary school in Chiping County, near Liaocheng City, teachers organized gender-related seminars on the issue.

One of the events was called We Are All Great Students, during which students talked about the features of both genders.

Moreover, youngsters were encouraged to highlight outstanding modern and ancient figures of both genders by staging self-produced shows.

Teachers also encouraged students to learn about gender differences through physical activities such as rope skipping and soccer.

"The fitness exercises can gradually improve students' performance and inspire them to learn how to show respect, help each other, and further achieve harmonious development," commented a teacher.

Promoting Gender Equality Education among Party Schools

In November 2004, Shandong Women's Federation and many departments of Shandong Provincial Party Committee jointly issued a work plan to incorporate the State policy of gender equality into Party school education across the province.

Participating government authorities included the Publicity Department, the Organization Department, and the office of Shandong Provincial Working Committee on Children and Women.

This official notice at the time clearly specified that Shandong's Party schools at the province, city and county level would launch the program starting from the first semester in 2005.

Besides the State policy of gender equality, the course's main content included: the Marxist Perspective on Women; Women's Rights and Interests in Law Protection; Women and Children's Development Guidelines; and, keynote instructions about implementing the State policy issued by the Party Central Committee and Shandong Provincial Party Committee.

Meanwhile, Shandong urged the Party school's training sessions to start relevant compulsory courses lasting 4-8 hours each, during which lecturers would give comprehensive explanation of the content.

Statistics revealed that the province organized some 20 training sessions featuring women and children's work committees, women and children's development, mass media, and social gender consciousness since the end of November 2012.

Over 90,000 officials attended another 1,005 training sessions across the province's counties and above.

Promoting Gender Equality Education among Universities and Communities

Shandong organized a special team of teachers to promote the State policy of gender equality on campus and mass media in November 2012.

The team comprised of nationwide experts and scholars working from the perspective of spreading State policy and social gender theories.

They not only promoted gender policy at sessions, but offered consultations. Their research focused on some key topics and challenges concerning the development of women and children.

Authorities set March as the specific month to annually promote the policy, during which many thematic activities would be held.

To follow instructions from the State Council's Women and Children's Work Committee, Shandong is one of the total five provinces to carry out the pilot project of promoting gender equality education among primary and middle schools, said an official.

The other provinces are Shanxi, Jiangxi, Guizhou and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

This initiative aims to implement the relevant tasks of the nation's programs for the development of women and children.

School's Model Templates in Promoting Gender Equality

Youngsters aged from 10 to 17 are capable of having a clear concept about gender issues, said the office of Shandong Provincial Working Committee on Children and Women.

Therefore, such school courses aim to nurture students' perspective about gender equality from an early age, which will later contribute to the spreading of equality as a social value and behavioral norm, the official added.

Since the start of initiative, the committee has played the role of coordination in setting the courses' results as part of the guidelines' mid-term evaluations.

Shandong Provincial Department of Education associated the event with the projects of education reform, quality education implementation and talent fostering.

Pilot schools made use of local optimized distinctive resources in order to further the scheme.

In specific, the office of Shandong Provincial Working Committee on Children and Women designated two pilot schools to launch events from October 2016 until October 2017.

Through plays, riddles, and the promoting of outstanding role models, students showed what they learned about gender equality on campus.

At a symposium, teachers exchanged ideas about their respective course plans and teaching approaches.

"Currently, gender equality education targets students and teachers at schools. The next step is to promote the issue among households and reach parents," said an official.

The primary school will later issue printed materials to students, teachers and parents.

Shandong authorities pledged to explore a variety of innovative initiatives featuring local situations in promoting gender equality education among schools, the official concluded.

(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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