Students throughout China will have a common period for sports this Sunday as the education authorities concert efforts to encourage students to get more involved in exercise, Xinmin Evening News reported today.
Millions of students in primary, middle schools and colleges will be organized to have a one-hour exercise period from 10 AM to 11AM on Sunday, according to a joint notice released by the Ministry of Education, the General Administration of Sports and the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China, an organization of youth led by the Communist Party of China.
As people will enjoy a week-long holiday from May 1 to May 7 for Labor Day, the preceding weekends of April 28-29 will be working days as a swap.
The notice said schools can choose different activities according to their resources. The activity will also be attended by government officials, it added.
Schools are required to submit reports about the activity to the three authorities, the report said.
Chinese students were found to be getting overweight in recent years and a decline in students' physical strength was another source of worry, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Education in 2005.
The survey, involving 380,000 students between the ages of 7 and 18, found that Chinese students jumped an average of 3cm less in the long jump compared with 2000.
"An inappropriate educational concept among parents, which puts study ahead of anything else, imposes a great burden on students, which leads to less sports time for students and affects their healthy growth," said a PE teacher surnamed Yuan in Shanghai Shixi Middle School in an interview with Xinmin Evening News.
"The country needs to form a long-term system to encourage students to join in sports rather than simply exercising for one or two hours," he said.
The Ministry of Education also said yesterday that students are required to prove their physical fitness if they want a place in Chinese universities.
The ministry said it is considering using the physical test as a way to split university applicants who have the same score on written tests.
To build up students' body strength, it urged schools throughout the country to improve their sports facilities and open ball courts, gymnasiums and fields to young people.
(Shanghai Daily April 28, 2007)