A peek into the first lessons as China's students embrace new semester
Updated 22:33, 01-Sep-2023
Students celebrate the opening day at a high school in Beijing, China, September 1, 2023./ CFP
Students celebrate the opening day at a high school in Beijing, China, September 1, 2023./ CFP

Students celebrate the opening day at a high school in Beijing, China, September 1, 2023./ CFP

It's school season again. In China, the majority of schools kick off the new autumn semester around September 1. Students across the country celebrate the opening day with various first lessons.

Students of Heishan Primary School in Beijing's Mentougou District started classes in a neighboring middle school as renovations are still going on in the primary school, which suffered severe damage due to the flood in August.

On Friday, the first day of the new semester, teachers and students of both schools participated in a special activity, discussing why the flood caused the walls to collapse. Students brainstormed ideas on how to build safer walls or plant green vegetation in post-disaster reconstruction to fight against floods.

Moreover, by providing psychological guidance through a special class meeting, teachers also tried to alleviate the students' anxieties, which could be caused by witnessing the havoc caused by the flood or upon entering a new campus.

Heavy floods triggered by two typhoons swept across large swathes of China this summer, resulting in serious casualties and significant damage to properties, public infrastructure and crops.

Many flood-hit schools have included disaster relief stories in their first lessons, recalling people's bravery and kindness and expressing gratitude towards these rescue efforts.

According to the Ministry of Education, as of August 25, a total of 3,286 schools in China suffered varying degrees of damage due to floods this summer. Among them, 3,276 schools have opened as scheduled, except 10 schools in northeast China's Jilin Province, which have no students. The majority of these schools have been restored or reconstructed on their original sites.

As for the content of the first lesson, in addition to the regular safety education, schools also add novel topics to keep pace with the times. For example, in east China's Jiangsu Province, students in primary and secondary schools began their new semester with a lesson on ecological protection.

The open class was held on August 25 in Tangshan Quarry Park, a former abandoned stone mining site in the provincial capital city of Nanjing. The park has become a tourist destination after its ecological system and landscape were restored. Students were amazed by the scenery while they were touring the park.

With lectures, discussions and tours, students are expected to learn about the importance of biodiversity and climate change. It is hoped that they can cherish these fruits of ecological restoration and pass on the baton of protection.

China Media Group has prepared a new edition of its classic program "First Lesson" for students to watch on Friday. The special program usually invites experts, pioneers and role models from various fields and has gradually become a must-watch for young students in the country.

This year's "First Lesson" traces the history of Chinese civilization through cultural inheritance projects and new archaeological discoveries. Guests of the program include archaeologists, astronauts, scientists and cultural experts who will inspire students to aim high in the process of China's rejuvenation.

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