The Content of Primary Science in the National Curricula of Korea, China, and Japan

  • Kim, Chan-Jong (Chongju National University of Education)
  • Published : 2001.12.30


The purpose of the study is to analyze and compare the primary science curricula of Korea, China, and Japan. Science textbooks for Korea and China and national science curriculum guides for Korea and Japan were analyzed in terms of the scope and sequence of the topics. The number of primary science topics dealt with is greatest in China, followed by Korea, then Japan. In addition to the wide range of topics, the Chinese curriculum also shows more in-depth coverage of topics. On the contrary, the Japanese curriculum has the least number of topics and shallowest depth of coverage. Korea seems to be in the middle between China and Japan. The similarities of the curricula in these East Asian countries is greatest between Korea and China. and the least between China and Japan. The similarities between Korea and Japan is somewhere in the middle. Korean primary science curriculum shows a comparatively even distribution of topics across grades. A relatively smaller number of sub-topics are introduced at each grade level, especially in the area of earth science and physics. On the contrary, in the Chinese curriculum, sub-topics tend to be concentrated at a certain grade level, thus major topics are dealt with in a grade or two. The Japanese science curriculum has fewer topics than those of the other countries, and generally one or two sub-topics appeared in a grade or two.


primary school;science curriculum;international comparison;Korea;China;Japan