Zhusuan, otherwise known as the Chinese abacus, was listed as an intangible cultural heritage at the 8th UNESCO World Heritage Congress a year ago. To mark the anniversary of the event, a seminar is being held in Shanghai. And participants are discussing how to revive the ancient counting device.
The abacus is a calculating method with a history of over 2,500 years. It is regarded as one of the most important inventions in Chinese history, and was listed as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage in 2013.
This seminar celebrates the one year anniversary of the Abacus's UNESCO heritage status, but it is also finding ways to revive the ancient counting device. Over 200 experts from home and abroad take part. Representatives also visit a community training center in Shanghai, where most of the students...are senior citizens. Most people these days turn to calculators or computers when they have to deal with numbers. But experts suggest that parents should look beyond just what the abacus teaches about numbers. They say it requires quick reactions, strong mental self-discipline, and attention to detail.
Zheng Dehe, Honorary President of Shanghai Abacus Calculation Assoc., said, "We are working with private schools. But only 2 to 3,000 children are studying the skill every year. And we are also training teachers. It's been difficult but we must pass on the heritage to the younger generations."
The association is hoping that the Chinese abacus will be added to the curriculum of primary schools around the nation.