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 ten full-time tutors, including eight full-time teachers from within the faculty and two part-time teachers from other university departments; two professors, and three 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”.

Pre-school Education

The programme has three areas of orientation: Pre-school Education for Teachers, Pre-school Education Management, and Education to Age 3. The objectives are to give pre-school educators outstanding practical skills and teach them the basic theories of pre-school education, making them proficient in teaching, management, research, publicity, writing and training in urban and rural pre-school settings, teacher-training institutions, and educational-administration departments. In addition, elective courses allow students to pursue their own interests.

I. Orientation and training objectives

The Pre-school Education for Teachers Orientation aims to cultivate excellent kindergarten teachers ideologically, intellectually and physically, and adapt them to the professional standards of pre-school education. They will fill positions in rural and urban kindergartens, and demonstrate both innovative and practical abilities. The training objectives are as follows.

First, to gain a good command of the knowledge and skills required for pre-school education, and become familiar with the morals and other qualities expected of teachers.

Second, to gain strong practical abilities in terms of child observation, class organisation and management, and design and implementation of classroom activities.

Third, to learn the basics of educational research, cooperation and reflection, to gain proficiency in active learning, and to gain the awareness and ability to promote self-development.

The Pre-school Education Management orientation aims to cultivate pre-school management professionals with strong leadership skills who have already qualified as kindergarten teachers. The training objectives are as follows.

The first is to gain a solid and systematic professional familiarity with pre-school education, including teaching, inspections and assessments.

The second is to become familiar with the relevant guidelines, policies and rules of the Party and country as well as advanced educational ideas, keep pace with reforms, be innovative, and be able to formulate and implement development and work plans based on the real-world situations of kindergartens and other institutions.

The third is to become able to engage in pre-school management based on an understanding of education, management and psychology.

The Education of Ages 0 to 3 orientation aims to cultivate practice-oriented professionals qualified for teaching and administrative management in care, health and educational institutions for children under the age of three. The specific objectives are as follows.

First, to master the care and education of children aged 3 and under, and gain sound professional ethics.

Second, to gain strong abilities in all the different types of work required at early-childhood educational institutions.

Third, to gain teaching and research abilities, become good at dealing with practical problems, and gain the ability to learn and develop actively and independently.

II. Course system

The curriculum is set up to give priority to the practical requirements of kindergarten education, but without neglecting theory. Emphasis is placed on integrating the basic theoretical, professional, instrumental and practical aspects of the courses, as well as on the connection between social development and market demand, in order to keep them practical and accessible. The compulsory and optional courses are arranged to provide continuity and depth, and are organised into the following three modules: foundation courses in education, including Pedagogy and Psychology; specialised foundation courses, such as Principles of Pre-school Education and Child Psychology; and specialised courses, including Health and Care of Pre-school Children, Children’s Games and Toys, Kindergarten Curriculum and Activity Design, Care and Education of 0 to 3-year-olds, Guidance on Family Education for Children, Kindergarten Assessment, Child-development Consultation and Guidance, Kindergarten Organisation and Management, Research in Pre-school Education, Modern Education Management, Education Law, Infant Education, and Design of Toys and Parent-child Activities for Children Under 3. Furthermore, the programme includes numerous electives.

III. Teaching Team and Course Resources

The degree-course resources developed for the programme include printed teaching materials, audio-visual materials, online courses and IP courseware. Some courses have developed micro lectures, and all the digital teaching materials are based on tablet and cell-phone mobile devices. Learning is supported in an all-round way, and several high-quality course resources have been produced. The printed teaching material for Assessment of Kindergarten Education Quality was given the top China University Press Award award for teaching materials; the materials for Modern Education Management were included in the “11th Five-Year-Plan” for higher education; and Principles of Pre-school Education and Curriculum and Activity Design for Kindergartens were named OUC “exquisite online courses”.