May 29th, the Ministry of Education and 17 other departments released the “Opinions on Strengthening Science Education in Primary and Secondary Schools in the New Era.” The “Opinions” clearly state that through 3 to 5 years of efforts, comprehensive measures for enhancing science education will be implemented while carrying out the “dual reduction” in education.
For the first time, the “Opinions” provide guidance on the interaction between in-school and out-of-school activities and establish a policy basis for high-quality educational institutions to enter schools. For science and technology-focused extracurricular training institutions, this undoubtedly serves as a “booster.” How can these institutions effectively contribute to science education while navigating the “dual reduction” policy? How will they respond to future regulatory measures?
Adding Science Education Effectively Amidst Dual Reduction
Under the background of “double reduction,” the after-school service system curriculum in primary and secondary schools has become the focus of quality education, while science education is the most important. Regarding the background of the release of the “Opinions,” the person in charge of the Department of Off-campus Education and Training Supervision of the Ministry of Education responded to reporters’ questions by saying that science education is an important foundation for enhancing the competitiveness of national science and technology, cultivating innovative talents, and improving the scientific literacy of the whole people. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, science education for primary and secondary school students and adolescents has beenCurriculum materials、Teaching quality、Construction of teachers、Off-campus construction and scientific practice activitiesSignificant results have been achieved in four areas.
One is in terms of curriculum materials, Grades 1 to 9 have opened science courses, independent set of information technology, labor courses.The second is in the teaching quality, set up the first national primary and secondary school science teaching guidance committee, to promote all schools to open a good science education curriculum. In 2022, the proportion of primary school, junior high school, and ordinary high school experimental equipment standard schools increased by 45.41%, 22.36%, and 9.8% respectively compared with 2012.Third, in the construction of teachersIn 2022, the total number of full-time science teachers in primary schools increased by 35.3% compared with 2012, and the number of science teachers in middle and high schools increased steadily.Fourth, in the construction of off-campus places and scientific practice activities, there are more than a thousand physical science and technology museums, mobile science museums, and caravans for popular science. As well as nearly 10,000 rural children’s palaces, all open to primary and middle school students, and together with the more than 140 demonstration comprehensive practice bases and more than 620 research and study bases and camps built by the central lottery and public welfare fund, they have opened up a vast world of social classes in science education.
However, thefoundation of science education in China is still weak, and there are still some problems. Regional development is not balanced, scientific education resources have not been effectively integrated, teachers are weak, the implementation of practical teaching is low, the early discoveryandtraining mechanism still need to break throughthe problems and shortcomings.
The issuance of opinions,focus on the “double reduction” in education to do a good job in science and education addition, the integration of education, science and technology, high-quality development of talent, to solve the above problems, the realization of the national rejuvenation through education.
The “Opinions” pointed out that in order to comprehensively strengthen the science education in primary and secondary schools in the new era, it is necessary to adhere to the”The Five Principles”The main objectives of the Opinions are as follows: First, to strengthen practice and stimulate students’ interest in science; The second is to integrate the existing departmental forces and revitalize the scientific education resources of all parties; The third is to promote the integration of school and school, both “please come in” and “go out”; Fourth, focus on inclusive, help and guide weak areas, weak schools and special groups of children; The fifth is to focus on coordination, system design, and form a mechanism that the whole society attaches importance to, cares for, and supports science education.
Some insiders told Duo Jing that the release of the “Opinions” conveyed confidence in the development of the industry for off-campus science and technology institutions.First, the Ministry of Education’s policy on science and technology innovation education continues to be stable, clear and predictable.This will contribute to the standardization, orderly and healthy development of science and technology training institutions. Second, the Opinions are consistent with previous policy documents, positioning science and technology off-campus training institutions as a useful supplement to school education. The state’s support and standardization of extracurricular training in science and technology will guide these institutions to develop in a standardized, healthy and orderly direction.
Under the guidance of the strategy of rejuvenating the country through science and education, the “double reduction” policy has brought great benefits to science education itself, and the main direction will remain stable in the short term. In the short term, however, the market is still developing steadily. In Shanghai, for example, due to the impact of the epidemic and the rising cost of compliance, science and technology extracurricular training institutions have shown a decreasing trend in recent years.
Regulating Science and Technology Extracurricular Training: Strengthening Regulatory Measures?
At present, the foundation of science education is generally weak, the regional development is unbalanced, and the educational resources have not been effectively integrated. Under the complex market environment, how to do a good job in the supervision of science and technology out-of-school training? From the content of the “Opinions,” the supervision work is mainly implemented from three aspects: “institutional guidance, competition supervision, and scientific and educational research.”
First, standardize the out-of-school training of science and technology, and form a useful supplement to school education.All localities should rationally plan the overall scale, setting standards, and approval procedures of science and technology non-disciplinary off-campus training institutions, guide the legal operation and standardized development of institutions, and effectively meet the individual needs of students. All non-disciplinary off-campus training institutions of science and technology will be included in the national off-campus education and training supervision and service comprehensive platform, and the whole process of supervision will be implemented. According to the actual demand, the government can purchase of public services and other ways to properly introduce non-disciplinary courses of science and technology. Coordinate with the standardized off-campus training. To guide the non-discipline training institutions of science and technology, we should not only impart knowledge, but also cultivate morality and cultivate students’ scientific spirit.
Second, strict competition management, training students “dedication to science” spirit.All localities should strengthen positive publicity and guidance, guide primary and secondary school students to rationally choose to participate in the “white list” competition, build a platform for primary and secondary school students to grow, find potential students, and guide them to actively participate in scientific research. Guide the organizers of the competition to integrate patriotism education into the competition activities, and cultivate the students’ feelings of family and country; Highlight collectivist education and lay a solid ideological foundation for participating students to engage in organized scientific research in the future.
Third, strengthen scientific education research guidance, layer upon layer compaction responsibility.Strengthen dynamic monitoring, regularly analyze and judge the scientific quality of young people, and publish relevant results. Complete the statistical survey of popular science resources on time, and strengthen guidance for the construction of areas with weak resources. We should publicize the progress and results of our work in a timely manner, raise the awareness and approval of the people, and create a favorable atmosphere for reform.
It is worth noting that the “opinions” also proposed that “teaching supplementary books should be included in the regulatory system.” In this regard, Li Guang, CEO of Qingchuang Hospital, said to the whale that the supervision of teaching materials and teaching aids will gradually become stricter. The lessons of the “poison textbook” incident are still ringing in our ears. In the future, the state will further strictly control the teaching materials inside and outside the school, and cut out the possibility of bad content from the source. Even digital teaching content, such as jump links, QR codes, digital resources, etc., will be reviewed by the official platform before they can be used to ensure that minors are guided to form correct values.
In addition to strengthening the supervision of teaching materials, restrictions on online education advertising will also increase. “Not only online, but even some national chain offline brands, advertising constraints may directly increase their customer acquisition costs, thus losing the competitiveness of cost control.” Li Guang said that in the future, small and micro institutions will increase sharply, small and medium-sized institutions will stabilize, and large institutions will decrease. The youth online tech education industry will face challenges. Companies with rich product systems will usher in huge opportunities.
Integration of In-school and Out-of-school Resources: Science Education Market Set to Heat Up?
How to integrate the resources to make the science and education resources both inside and outside the school go “two-way”? The person in charge of the Ministry of Education’s Off-campus Education and Training Supervision Department stressed in answering reporters’ questions that it is necessary to make a fuss about the word “wide.”
An industry insider told Duo Jing that incorporating science education into the after-school service system is good for science and technology off-campus training institutions. Incorporating science education into the after-school service system will help promote primary and secondary schools to increase the proportion of technology-related projects when purchasing after-school service projects. This change will increase the utilization rate of teachers in science and technology training institutions during the week, thus helping to reduce the labor costs of the institutions. However, this also correspondingly puts forward higher requirements for the competitiveness of teachers in various institutions.
In view of the lack of integration of science education in and out of schools in some local areas, and the lack of effective social coordination support mechanisms, the Opinions suggest that enterprises should have two-way interaction with schools to provide practical opportunities for more primary and secondary school students. In addition, the “Opinions” stressed that it is necessary to guide enterprises to build bases, optimize digital intelligence platforms, enrich science education resources, and incorporate science education into the after-school service system.
On the one hand, all places should follow the curriculum standards and openExhibition experiment and inquiry practice activities,In principle, the implementation of interdisciplinary thematic learning should not be less than 10% of the teaching requirements. Each school shall be led by the school or employ experts and scholars as vice presidents of science, and in principle, at least one science and technology counselor shall be established, and at least one institution (museum, base, park, enterprise, etc.) with certain functions of science popularization shall be paired up. On the other hand, everywhere shouldTake science education as the most basic and necessary item of after-school service, carry out popular science lectures, scientific experiments, scientific and technological creation, maker activities, observation and research, etc., and continuously enhance the attractiveness of after-school services.
The “opinions” also pointed out thatwe should improve and intensify experimental teaching by using such technological means as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and so on.With the development of science and technology, the use of new technology and new means to assist school teaching is the general trend.
For technical institutions to enter the school, the guarantee of teaching results will become a strong competitive point.Li Guang introduced that as far as the current science and technology education is concerned, there are mainly three forms of expression in the teaching system of primary and secondary schools: after-school interest classes (after-school service), science and technology associations (school selection organizations), and school teams (school participation). The technology-based institutions can mainly exert their efforts in science and technology associations and school teams, but both of these forms need financial support. According to the current relevant policies, schools are not allowed to charge parents, and it is crucial that schools have relevant funds to support science and technology education. Therefore, schools often take teaching results as the guidance when choosing outside institutions, and institutions that can provide full guarantee in teaching results are more competitive and more likely to be favored by schools.
Industry insiders stressed that science and education products first need to adhere to its public welfare. Secondly, high-quality domestic teaching equipment, courses and products must highlight the characteristics of products, improve the curriculum system and pay attention to the availability of products in schools at the same time. In addition, the experimental conditions of scientific experimental equipment, the controllability and safety of the results also need to be regulated. For the curriculum with deep foundation and rich system, all sectors of society need to make joint efforts to improve and reform it.
When talking about product demand and industry trends, Li Guang believes that simple and easy-to-operate home science experiment-related instruments, and even related products that specialize in benchmarking “pseudoscience” and “pseudoscience” have great market potential. At the advent of the AI learning era, children’s programming education has great potential for development because of its characteristics of just need, mature conditions and low threshold.