China's cabinet held a video-teleconference on Friday in Beijing to urge all
schools to implement a guideline aimed at improving students' health.
Zhou Ji, Minister of Education, called on all schools to take immediate
measures to strengthen physical education and ensure students have one hour of
sports every day.
"High schools and primary schools should encourage students to spend more
time on physical exercise," Zhou said.
"Schools will not be allowed to have students attend extra lessons at
weekends or holidays in future."
The Guideline on Strengthening Adolescent Physical Education and Improving
Adolescent Physique, released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of
China and the State Council on Thursday, aims at ensuring the good health of
According to the guideline, all primary and high schools should guarantee
physical education lessons "with quality and quantity".
Grade one and two primary school students should have four physical education
lessons a week; grade three to six primary school students and junior high
school students three a week; and senior high school students two a week.
Schools should allow students who do not have PE lessons, to have one hour's
collective physical exercise after class every day.
Colleges and universities should ensure every student takes extra-curricular
physical exercise at least three times every week.
The guideline also urges schools to devise timetables to allow enough sleep
time for students: 10 hours for primary school students, 9 hours for junior high
school students and 8 for senior high school students.
The guideline points out that schools have a tendency to attach more
importance to students' intellectual development rather than their physical
As a result, students have excessive homework and inadequate time for rest
and physical exercise.
It says a recent survey indicates teenagers' average physical index, such as
endurance, strength and speed, have been declining continuously.
The number of teenagers with poor eyesight remains high. The number of
overweight urban teenagers keeps increasing while their counterparts in some
rural areas are suffering from malnutrition.
"These problems, if not addressed properly, will seriously affect the growth
of teenagers and even the nation's future," the guideline says.
The guideline sets a goal of substantially improving the physique of
teenagers in five years, with malnutrition, obesity and nearsightedness
(China Daily 05/26/2007 page3)