A child learns to play golf under an instructor's guidance in Taiyuan, China. (Xinhua/Xie Yuan)
Students in China are being encouraged to do more physical exercise this summer vacation.
TAIYUAN, China, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- During last summer's vacation, Wang Xuebing signed up for English, dance and violin classes, shuttling around her city under the scorching sun. However, this year, the 11-year-old has eschewed indoor courses in favor of outdoor activities and PE homework.
Daily physical exercise has become general homework for most students across China this summer vacation. This follows an instruction released by the Ministry of Education in May, requesting that schools ensure their students undertake at least one hour of exercise every day, with the aim of strengthening their bodies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province, Xinjianlu Primary School assigned exercise tasks for both parents and children, encouraging students to make videos and share them with classmates when school opens.
Principal Feng Hexia said that the amount of written homework for the children has been reduced, in favor of different exercises for students across each grade this summer. "This helps their comprehensive development," Feng noted.
"Times have changed. Students have more activities to choose during their vacation now," said a mother surnamed Liu. In her memory, summer vacation 20 years ago meant endless homework and tutoring classes.
A student practises his basketball passing with his mother in Taiyuan, China. (Courtesy of the interviewee)
In fact, the educational philosophy of many parents has shifted from a largely academic approach to a more rounded one in recent years.
On a golf course in Taiyuan, seven-year-old Du Kai (pseudonym) rotates his hip, leading his arms to swing the club and hit a nice shot 10 meters away.
"Golfing is on an open field, and is a better way to keep social distance than playing basketball or swimming," said Du's mother, Mrs. Gao. "It's safer."
Instructor Fan Guoxin said that sport has come back to life as the pandemic has been brought under control, with all four of his company's training camps planned for this summer now fully booked.
Tang Lixu, a professor with Wuhan Sports University, said the boom in the sports training industry indicates that society now places more emphasis on students' comprehensive development rather than solely academic performance.
"It is not just because of the epidemic, but also an inevitable result of social development," said Tang. ■