China has launched an education campaign on morality in the country's primary and middle schools.
Since the start of new semester two weeks ago, students are being taught core socialist values, which comprise of a set of moral principles; prosperity, democracy, civility, harmony, freedom, equality, justice, the rule of law, patriotism, dedication, integrity and friendship.
The doctrine has been encouraged by the Communist Party of China (CPC) since its 18th Party Congress in late 2012.
Guidelines on cultivating and practicing values, issued by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee last December, indicated that core socialist values should be included in the overall national education plan and "cover all schools and those receiving education".
Sun Yingchun, a professor with the institute of international communication at the Communication University of China, said that it was imperative to roll out moral education targeting young people, as they are the future constructors and successors of the country.
Yu Pei, a researcher with the institute of world history at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said moral education should be persistent, based on scientific understanding and beliefs, and combined with specific examples rather than spoon-feeding.
In a morality class in Shunwen Middle School in Jinan City, capital of east China's Shandong Province on Wednesday, students discussed the postgraduate who was sentenced to death last week after he poisoned his roommate.
Liu Enhua, a student at the middle school, said the case taught him to be kind and nice to his classmates and friends. Without correct moral values, a highly-educated person could become a loser, Liu added.
Lin Zhaoxiu, the teacher of the class, said discussing current news and social problems was a good way of teaching core socialist values.
Youngsters can be easily influenced so teachers should guide them to help with their value development, Lin said.
Zhang Feng, a history teacher at the middle school, echoed Lin's views and said that as China is undergoing social transition, the promotion of core socialist values among youngsters is very much needed.
Chinese president Xi Jinping reiterated "core socialist values" on Monday while presiding over a high-level meeting on the issue. Xi said authorities should cultivate values, and "make them all-pervasive, just like the air."
Besides morality classes, schools in many provinces had started to integrate traditional Chinese virtue education with current moral education.
In primary schools in provinces of Hebei, Shandong, and Shaanxi, students are required to learn Chinese classics like The Analects of Confucius, which advocate traditional virtues of the Chinese nation such as filial piety, integrity and friendship.
Hu Aihong, headmaster of Shungeng Primary School in Jinan City in Shandong, said the stories illustrate core socialist values, which can help children learn the doctrine easier and better.
"I do not care much about how much doctrines they can recite. Children can develop good characters and behaviors as a result of learning virtues from ancient classics," said Fan Xinhui, mother of a primary school student in Shijiazhuang City, capital of north China's Hebei Province.
However, China has been undergoing great change during the past 35 years along with rapid development since it launched the opening up and reform drive. Mass communication with the world and diversified cultures, such as Internet culture, have brought new social problems, said Yu.
Yin Ping, a Chinese teacher at Shunwen Middle School in Jinan, said considering the complicated social environment, parents should not just rely on schools and teachers. They also have to shoulder responsibilities to help their children know right from wrong, she said.