Shanghai promotes Chinese culture at international schools
Traditional Chinese opera performers interact with foreign students during an event to help children of foreigners in Shanghai better understand Chinese culture. [Photo/WeChat account: SHMEC-xwb]
Shanghai has been promoting traditional Chinese culture at international schools through an event oriented to the children of foreign nationals living in the city since 2011.
Sponsored by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and organized by the Shanghai Educational Center of Science & Art, the event is meant to help foreign students better understand China and traditional Chinese culture and improve the experiences of foreign students living in Shanghai.
The event has been participated in by 38 international schools in Shanghai and nearly 30 technological, artistic, and cultural venues. More than 300 activities have benefited nearly 10,000 foreign students with shows, displays, and communications.
Thanks to further reform and opening up in Shanghai, an increasing number of foreigners are choosing to work in the city, creating demand for education for the children of foreign nationals. There are currently nearly 40 international schools and international departments of Shanghai public schools run by foreigners with more than 100,000 students, and it is important to help them learn and understand traditional Chinese culture.
Li Yongzhi, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, said that the event helped promote Chinese language teaching in schools for the children of foreign nationals, strengthened friendships between Chinese and foreign students, and led to the establishment of cultural and educational exchange platforms for foreign students.
In 2015, six international schools participated in a Kunqu Opera activity featuring a performance of Skeleton Demon. Professionals from the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe customized the dance for international students and the lyrics were accompanied by English translations. Audiences also got a chance to interact with the stage props. A Peking Opera imitation show was held as well.
Bank of China offered strong support for the event in 2016 in an effort to promote various forms of Chinese culture, including knitting, calligraphy, painting, tea art, facial makeup, folk art, traditional games, vocal music, instrumental music, dancing, traditional Chinese opera, martial arts, and acrobatics.
In addition, the British School of Shanghai created a dance program called Shanghai, Old But Fashionable in 2012. It was participated in by 13 middle schools students and eight elementary school students and reflected the historical changes Shanghai has undergone in the eyes of international students. Two years later, experience passports were granted to foreign students that allowed them to visit a dozen Shanghai art museums. In May that year, a photography competition with the theme "I Grow With Shanghai" was also held.
The event allows Shanghai's educational circles to carry forward traditional Chinese culture and reflect upon Shanghai's opening up to the outside world. According to Feng Zhigang, principal of Shanghai Middle School, Chinese culture is a treasure and we should accept and learn from it. Lu Ye, director of the Shanghai Educational Center of Science & Art, said that it is our mission and responsibility to meticulously plan and organize this activity.
Due to the epidemic in 2020, the sponsor and the organizer applied the way of air communication. Five traditional Chinese culture courses focusing on intangible cultural heritage were provided online, and a video production competition and WeChat online interactive learning applet were offered.