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UK schools eye Shanghai math books

By ZHANG KUN | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-17 07:37

First, Shanghai math teachers arrived in Britain, and now Chinese math textbooks will be published for use in UK classrooms.

An agreement to publish English translations of texts used by Shanghai's primary school math program was signed Tuesday at the London Book Fair between Collins Learning and Shanghai Century Publishing Group. Collins is part of giant Harper Collins Publishing. Collins plans to release Real Shanghai Mathematics, a series of 36 textbooks, starting in September.

Colin Hughes, Collins Learning's managing director, called the signing "a historic moment".

"To my knowledge this has never happened in history before-that textbooks created for students in China will be translated exactly as they have been developed, and sold for use in British schools," Hughes said.

"This development arises from increasingly successful collaboration between Shanghai and the British government, aimed at raising standards of mathematics education in UK schools by adopting the excellent approach that places Shanghai as a world leader in mathematics teaching."

Since 2014, over 400 teachers, leaders and researchers from China and Britain have been on academic exchange visits. Educators in both countries said their schools benefitted from the exchange.

Students from Shanghai have consistently scored well in the Program for International Student Assessment, a triennial exam of 15-year-old students that helps evaluate education systems worldwide.

The textbooks already have been used by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics to train British teachers.

The UK education department announced a four-year, 41 million pound ($50.3 million) Teaching for Mastery Program last year to develop techniques used in Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong for use in 8,000 UK primary schools. Collins hopes to gain the program's endorsement for its new textbook series.

Collins Learning described Real Shanghai Mathematics as a rigorous program that "emphasizes complete mastery of basic numeracy knowledge and skills to allow vastly accelerated progression to advanced numeracy".

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