Aims for learning 21st century competencies in national primary science Curricula in China and Finland

Yan Wang, Jari Lavonen, Kirsi Tirri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Incorporation of aims for learning 21st century competencies in subject-specific curricula and education has been an important issue worldwide. This study explored the integration of aims for learning such competencies into the National Primary Science Curricula in China and Finland. Both Curricula showed an emphasis on aims related to science education, such as inquiry and information literacy. Yet the density of appearance of competencies for the 21st century in the Chinese Curriculum is lower than in the Finnish Curriculum. Additionally, the Chinese Curriculum illustrates the shortage of aims in the Living in the World category. The significant differences between the Curricula have to do with the educational theories underpinning each national curriculum. The Chinese Curriculum has a tendency to align with the Anglo-American curriculum tradition, whereas the Finnish Curriculum is more closely aligned with the German Bildung-Didaktik tradition. A national curriculum in different subject areas could be designed whose central purpose would be cultivating holistic individuals and targeting goals for disciplinary knowledge and skills. Merits of the different educational traditions need to be examined and considered in the curriculum design process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2081-2095
Number of pages15
JournalEurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • 21 century
  • China
  • Competency
  • Finland
  • Science curriculum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Aims for learning 21st century competencies in national primary science Curricula in China and Finland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this