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PE ruling set to help children fight the flab

By Zou Shuo and Li Yingqing | China Daily | Updated: 2021-01-13 09:14

Children practice jump-rope skills at a school in Huaibei, Anhui province, in October. WAN SHANCHAO/FOR CHINA DAILY

Marginalized

Physical education has long been a marginalized subject in China, where intense academic competition has resulted in some teachers "borrowing" PE classes so their students can continue their regular academic studies, Wei said.

"Only by raising PE scores in important tests can schools, parents and students themselves begin to prioritize PE as much as academic subjects and thus lower the rates of obesity and myopia among students," he added.

Xie Guoqiang, father of a fifth grader in Yunnan's Nujiang Lisu autonomous prefecture, said he agreed with raising PE scores in the zhongkao because a healthy body is a prerequisite for everything else.

The policeman and former soldier said he has long paid great attention to his son's physical education, and he often does various sports with the 11-year-old.

"Exercise can reduce the pressure of academic work and make studying more efficient," he said.

"Rather than having him glued to a smartphone or eating junk food all day, I would much rather my son went outside and had fun exercising."

However, Ming Yang, mother of a fifth grader in Kunming, said she was concerned that the decision to raise the weighting of PE in the zhongkao was made without sufficient research and public opinion.

Yunnan is not a wealthy province, so such educational reforms should be undertaken in more-developed regions first because they have the necessary resources, she said.

"I am all for happy study and exercise every day, but the fact is that to get into good high schools in the city many middle school students study from early in the morning until midnight. There is simply no time for them to improve their PE scores," she added.

"All parents want their child to run happily in the sun and have a healthy body. However, as no parents are willing to make their children less competitive academically, raising the PE scores means they will now need to squeeze their sleep time for PE, which will be detrimental to their health."

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