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The country's first female astronaut, Olympic medalists and NBA stars will join hands to give students their first lesson of a new semester across China.
The 90-minute program, produced by the Ministry of Education and China Central Television, will premiere at 8 pm on Sunday on CCTV-1 and replay on Monday morning. The ministry is urging all primary and secondary schools to organize students to watch the show.
Olympic medalists Ye Shiwen (left) and Jiao Liuyang are greeted by emcees Lin Miaoke and Sa Beining (right) on a TV show The First Lesson. [Lin Hui / For China Daily]
"Most primary and secondary schools choose Sept 3, or Monday, as the first school day of this semester, so we set the premiere on Sunday with the hope that some parents could sit in front of TV to watch the show with their children," Gao Hong, director of the department of basic education of the ministry, said at a news conference.
The ministry and CCTV have been producing The First Lesson as a welcoming gift to students since 2008.
The show invites dozens of celebrities to give speeches or lectures on a topic. This year’s theme is "beauty around you". Among this year’s guest speakers are Liu Yang, the country’s first female astronaut, who just completed a journey in space.
She will talk about the beauty of Earth as she observed it through the window of a spacecraft.
Houston Rockets’ Jeremy Lin, an emerging pop idol who boasts a large group of young fans, will encourage young Chinese to bravely pursue their own dreams.
Former NBA star Yao Ming will share his personal experience on shooting a documentary about the protection of wild animals in Africa.
And China’s young swimming sensation Ye Shiwen will tell her stories behind the Olympic medals.
Qian Wei, director of CCTV-1, said he hoped children would be fascinated with the all-star cast.
However, an education expert said that parents and students might prefer a safety program to an inspirational program.
"A TV program is better compared to classroom education because children love TV, but I believe that a TV show that requires students across the nation to watch could be given more practical significance," said Song Yanhui, an education expert of the Youth Work Department of the China Youth University for Political Sciences.
During the summer, five children in Hainan province fell into the water and died when playing on a raft, and other drownings were reported in Jiangsu, Shanghai and Beijing, even at children’s swimming classes.
"Our schools in China never lack inspirational education — even the school principals cannot invite Jeremy Lin to tell inspiring stories, they always invite successful alumni to give speeches every year.
"But it is not possible to invite safety experts to give lectures in every school every semester, so it would be more useful to stress safety awareness to children in TV programs," Song said.
Liu Yuqi, 13, from Beijing, says that although her school organizes students to watch the TV program every year, she never takes it seriously.
"I don’t think it is very helpful, and the teachers sometimes turn off the TV halfway through to give new lectures," she said.