Chinese province students do physical exercise as homework

TAIYUAN (Xinhua) – Students in north China’s Shanxi Province were given a special assignment this winter: outdoor physical exercise.

They must have their sports time recorded and send it to the teachers by phone every day as proof that they have done their homework.

In a courtyard in a residential area in the provincial capital of Taiyuan, Zhu Huiming, a third-grade student from Bayi Elementary School, practices tuck jumps.

“You should lift your leg as close to the hand as possible,” Wang Li, Zhu’s mother, told him while recording with her phone.

Shi Ruiping, a physical education teacher responsible for designing the homework, said the homework was based on the physical functions of children of different ages.

“For children in the lower grades, they are assigned easier activities such as wall squats; those in the upper classes are expected to do difficult exercises like lunges, which suit their body growth,” Shi said.

Many primary and secondary schools, including Bayi, have assigned physical exercise homework during the winter break, in line with the “fitness first” guideline that was proposed at the National Education Conference in September 2018.

At the playground near Taihangyuan Community in Taiyuan, Niu Jiaqi, a high school student from Shanxi University Affiliated High School, warms up.

She runs on the playground every day to complete her physical exercise homework and is also preparing for the high school entrance exam next year.

“Exercise is necessary for both physical education exams and body health,” she said.

In recent decades, despite improving medical and nutritional conditions in China, the physical health of young people has not improved.

A survey released by the Ministry of Education every five years shows that the average fitness level of teenagers has steadily declined from 1985 to 2010. The downward trend did not stop until 2015, after the government has introduced a series of policies aimed at encouraging physical exercise not only among young people but also the general public.

In the latest initiative, the General Administration of Sports of China and the Ministry of Finance announced that they have subsidized more than 1,200 major stadiums across the country so that venues can provide free or low-cost access to the public. in 2018.

The announcement says stadiums are expected to be open for no less than eight hours a day during summer vacations, winter breaks and public holidays.

Lou Jing, associate professor of physical education at Shanxi University, warned that physical exercise during winter vacation should be more than just homework.

“The school should pay attention to difficulty and practicability when organizing homework. Parents and schools should improve communication, supervise and jointly cooperate with students to improve the physical quality of students,” Lou said.

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