PA 'closely monitoring' China foreign textbook ban

PA 'closely monitoring' China foreign textbook ban

The Publishers Association says it is closely monitoring the situation after China announced a ban on foreign textbooks in the country’s classrooms.

Earlier this month, China's Ministry of Education published guidelines for primary, middle and high schools, stipulating they cannot use foreign teaching materials. The only exceptions appear to be high schools that are run in co-operation with overseas institutions and private schools.

The ministry said the policy would help ensure materials for pupils "reflect the will of the party and the state". It said they should adhere to the "guiding position of Marxism" alongside its national principles including 'Xi Jinping thought' — the official name given to the political and cultural philosophy of the country’s president.

The PA said the terms of the ban and what qualified as a textbook were unclear and it was in touch with relevant UK government officials over the policy’s implications.

Dan Conway, director of external affairs at the PA, said: "The announcement does not include a clear definition on the term ‘textbook’ so it is not clear which books will be included in this policy: each province and city will have to decide how to enact the ban. We understand that books that are jointly published by Chinese and UK publishers are not considered a foreign book, nor are books licensed to a Chinese publisher by a UK publisher. It also appears that the policy does not apply to private schools. 

"Although controlling textbook use is not a new concept in China, dating back to the Chinese Compulsory Education Law of 2006, this latest development is something we will continue to monitor closely."