Re­quired PE scores to be raised on na­tion’s high school en­trance ex­ams

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZOU SHUO zoushuo@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China will grad­u­ally in­crease re­quired scores on the phys­i­cal ex­er­cise test to the same level as those of Chi­nese, math and English on high school en­trance ex­ams to im­prove phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion in schools, a se­nior ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cial said on Fri­day.

Wang Dengfeng, head of the depart­ment of phys­i­cal, health and arts ed­u­ca­tion at the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, said Yun­nan prov­ince is the only pro­vin­cial re­gion in China to give PE classes the same weight as aca­demic sub­jects on high school en­trance ex­ams, and other re­gions should grad­u­ally in­crease the weight of PE classes to match those of aca­demic sub­jects.

The coun­try should also im­me­di­ately start re­search on in­clud­ing PE classes in the na­tional col­lege en­trance exam, or gaokao, Wang said at a news con­fer­ence.

All pro­vin­cial re­gions also should grad­u­ally add tests of stu­dents’ aes­thetic abil­i­ties to the high school en­trance ex­ams by 2022 to strengthen aes­thetic ed­u­ca­tion, he said, adding that 12 cities in six pro­vin­cial re­gions have started the prac­tice, with scores vary­ing from 10 to 40 points.

He spoke af­ter cen­tral au­thor­i­ties is­sued guide­lines on strength­en­ing and im­prov­ing phys­i­cal and aes­thetic ed­u­ca­tion in schools in the new era on Thurs­day.

The guide­lines, is­sued by the gen­eral of­fices of the Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and the State Coun­cil, stressed the im­por­tance of car­ry­ing out re­forms in phys­i­cal and aes­thetic ed­u­ca­tion, adding more fa­cil­i­ties and fac­ulty and im­prov­ing cur­ricu­lum de­sign and in­sti­tu­tional sup­port.

The guide­lines en­cour­aged pri­mary and se­condary schools to pro­vide stu­dents with one PE class a day and to open enough aes­thetic ed­u­ca­tion classes — mainly art classes like music, paint­ing, cal­lig­ra­phy, dance, drama and opera — to meet re­quire­ments.

Pri­mary and ju­nior high schools should teach stu­dents to mas­ter two ba­sic sports skills such as run­ning and jump­ing and get them in­volved in sports such as soccer, bas­ket­ball, vol­ley­ball, swim­ming and win­ter sports. The stu­dents are also ex­pected to learn up to two art skills. Mean­while, univer­sity stu­dents must earn enough cred­its in PE and aes­thetic classes to grad­u­ate, they said.

They also en­cour­aged uni­ver­si­ties and re­search in­sti­tutes to open PE classes and aes­thetic classes, which are not manda­tory at present, for post­grad­u­ate stu­dents.

Chen Pei­jie, pres­i­dent of Shang­hai Univer­sity of Sport, said in­creas­ing the re­quired PE test scores on high school en­trance ex­ams is con­ducive to im­prov­ing stu­dents’ phys­i­cal health. Sur­veys have shown that ninth and tenth graders have bet­ter phys­i­cal health than stu­dents in other grades be­cause they need to pre­pare for the test, Chen said.

Fan Di’an, pres­i­dent of the Cen­tral Academy of Fine Arts, said there is still a big short­age in the num­ber and qual­ity of art teach­ers at schools, and the key to im­prov­ing aes­thetic ed­u­ca­tion is to nur­ture more art teach­ers.

“Aes­thetic ed­u­ca­tion is not only to teach stu­dents how to paint, sing or dance, it’s about the abil­ity to ap­pre­ci­ate artis­tic beauty, which is very im­por­tant to stu­dents’ psy­cho­log­i­cal health,” he said.

But the news also trig­gered heated dis­cus­sions on China’s so­cial me­dia plat­forms on Fri­day, with many ne­ti­zens ques­tion­ing whether in­creas­ing test scores is the an­swer to im­prov­ing phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

WANG XIAO / XIN­HUA

Stu­dents at Jing­dian High School in Han­dan, He­bei prov­ince, par­tic­i­pate in soccer drills in May.

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