In June 1999, the Ministry of Education (MOE) authorised the OUC (formerly CCRTVU) to implement the CCRTVU “Pilot Programme for the Reform of Learner Development and Open Education” in the form of a research project. The Primary School Education major was included in the first pilot, with undergraduate enrollment beginning in the spring of 2003.

Over the past ten years, advances have been made in the basic framework of on-the-job teacher training and the corresponding instruction to achieve the requirements of the programme, carry out in-depth research and thorough implementation, and promote smooth and sound development. The skills cultivated are highly valued by employers.

From the outset, the pilot programme has operated under the direction of the relevant MOE departments, and cooperated closely with the National Teacher-education Network Alliance.

I. Training Objectives

The Primary School Education undergraduate programme is mainly targeted at current primary-school teachers with junior-college educations who desire more advanced training. Students are helped to develop ideologically, intellectually and physically, and trained to meet the needs of reformed primary-school education and 21st-century teaching methods, to deliver innovative and high-quality education. The specific requirements are: to adhere to the four cardinal principles, to love the cause of primary-school education, to have the correct outlook on the world, life and values, and to have integrity, good professional ethics, and a realistic and practical spirit; to have a broad and solid understanding of culture and science; to have mastered the basics of the major; to be proficient in at least one subject, with some level of competence in several others; to meet a minimum standard for primary-school research and management, as well as self-development and improvement ability; and to have a solid base in the arts, sound aesthetic standards, and the ability to carry out all manner of teaching activities.

II. Teaching team

The programme is presented in cooperation with Shanghai Normal University, and has a staff of twelve full-time tutors, including ten full-time teachers from within the faculty and two part-time teachers from other university departments; three professors, seven associate professors, and five teachers with doctorates. 360 tutors from 41 provincial branches work full time for the programme, including 102 with senior professional titles and 218 with associate titles, while about 500 part-time tutors from local universities and colleges are also employed.

The programme leaders are renowned Chinese-education experts: professors Gu Mingyuan, Gu Lingyuan and Hui Zhong. The experts employed as chief editors and lecturers in the core courses include Gu Lingyuan, Guo Dejun, Hui Zhong, Wang Yichuan, Peng Jixiang, Yuan Jun, Zhang Shunyan, Qi Huyang, Wu Ligang, Yang Qingyu, Ma Yunpeng, Shen Chuanfu, Xie Liming, Shi Zhongying and Wei Shusheng.

III. Course system and resources

The core courses of this programme are Principles of Modern Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Research on the Teaching of Primary-school Mathematics, Research on the Teaching of Primary-school Chinese, Individual and Society, Science and Technology, and Mathematical Thinking and Methods, while optional courses include Instructional Design, Introduction to Arts, Mental-health Education, and Class Management.

The degree-course resources of the programme include printed teaching materials, audio-visual materials, online courses and IP courseware, with learning supported in an all-round way. Several courses have been recognised for their quality, including Psychology, which was commended for its textbook among institutes of higher education in Beijing in 2003; Teaching Research on Primary-school Chinese, which was named a “national exquisite online course” in 2007; and Science and Technology and Research on the Teaching of Primary-school Mathematics, which were named an OUC “quality online course”.