I learned a very interesting phrase in China: 课程思政(Ideological and Political Theories teaching in All Courses, starting from 2014, an idea of Shanghai municipal government) where every knowledge point in every subject should relate to politics.

For instance, this chapter about DNA in biology:

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It says that communism's DNA is to serve the people and govern the country forever.

I wonder if only China applies this method? Or there are some other countries doing it also?


1 Answer 1


Teachers in Germany are supposed to represent democratic values in all subjects they teach (a "Querschnittsaufgabe" or "cross-sectional task"). That doesn't mean holding a democratic vote about having an exam that week. It does mean to value every student, standing up for human and civil rights, for justice, and things like that. If they do it well, it won't be blatantly obvious, but it is no less real for that. And not representing democracy would mean representing not-democracy, so they cannot avoid taking a stand. The law, ultimately the constitution, sets out what that stand has to be for a civil servant.

It comes down to the nature of curriculum development. It is never possible to teach isolated facts without also reinforcing a culture. Those who claim that what they do is not political are deceiving themselves, or their audience.

Say you have a trigonometry class. Are the students just learning a branch of mathematics, or are they learning more than that? Well, if they would be deducted points on an exam for an answer to a word problem for grammar and spelling errors, then it isn't just mathematics. So it would be fair to say that any mathematics class also becomes education whatever language it is held in. And in other subjects. Presentation skills, for instance. In primary school, mathematics/arithmetic shades into motor skills, jointly with writing, and also, always, into social skills of learning in class. Listening, concentration, and all that.

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    I don't know. I went to school in Germany and except maybe for history lessons where for obvious reasons Nazis were the worst, the remaining teachings were remarkably unideological. Math really was only math. I don't have China as a comparison but I can imagine there might be big differences.
    – Trilarion
    Jul 31 at 19:11
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    Not my DV and I kinda agree with the idea that it's a continuum, but on the other hand multi-party democracies generally disallow open party advertisements in schools. On the other hand, many communist countries had the portrait of the leader in every school classroom, so there's that [political] personality cult obvious even in schools... although if one seeks similarities to that, religious symbols (i.e. cross) in the classroom had a somewhat similar role in other countries before state-church separation, and sometimes even after.
    – Fizz
    Jul 31 at 20:25
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    @Trilarion, a cynic might say that the indoctrination was so successful you did not even notice. Mainstream German society likes to think that their consensus view (soziale Marktwirtschaft, nivellierte Mittelschichtsgesellschaft, Rechtstaat) are so obviously right that alternatives don't have to be discussed at length. But they guide how teachers teach all subjects.
    – o.m.
    Aug 1 at 4:39
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    @o.m. There still might be big differences. I have never experienced Chinese education, so I don't know, but it seems you haven't either. As I said, math was really only math and nothing of the consensus view (soziale Marktwirtschaft, nivellierte Mittelschichtsgesellschaft, Rechtstaat) as far as I remember. Now maybe also in China math is only math. We would need somebody who is experienced in both systems in order to meaningfully compare and rate them on their ideological content.
    – Trilarion
    Aug 1 at 6:55
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    In maths you generally avoid marking for spelling/grammar explicitly, but language comprehension affects reading the questions and instructions.
    – benjimin
    Aug 6 at 20:43

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