China / Society

Education industry links student fitness to advancement

By Sun Xiaochen ( Updated: 2014-05-23 16:22

In an attempt to improve students' overall fitness levels, China's Ministry of Education issued administrative orders on Friday calling for annual assessment of students' physical status and school evaluation systems that involve physical education.

According to the order, all public schools from primary to higher education level should organize student fitness tests including a 50-meter sprint, 1,000-m run, lung capacity test and pull-ups every year, and are required to record the results in students' files.

The tests results will also be graded into four levels — excellent, good, qualified and unqualified — and will be considered as key evaluating factors for students' graduation and college admission exams.

However, the ministry didn't announce details about how much the test results would count toward in entrance examinations for senior high schools and colleges, stressing that the relevant rules need to be further discussed with local educational authorities.

To guarantee the quality and class hours of physical education, the new order also requires that the performance assessments of school officials and regional education chiefs be related to the development of physical education in their respective areas.

Wang Dengfeng, director of the ministry's physical education, health and arts department, expects the new rules to help improve declining student fitness levels.

"For quite a long time, PE and extracurricular sports activities were not treated as important enough due to a lack of inner motivation and external compulsion," Wang said.

"By relating students' PE performance to their admission assessments and evaluating officials' performance partially on PE development in local schools, the tough situation will be improved."

Due to heavy academic burdens in China's exam-oriented education system, facilities and hours for PE classes and on-campus sports activities lag behind those for academic courses. This has resulted in a decline in overall student fitness, according to a recent student fitness survey conducted by the General Administration of Sport.

Officials and school leaders who fail to implement annual fitness tests or guarantee enough exercise for students will be criticized publicly or excluded from promotion and awards.

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