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Tsinghua students must prove worth in pool


03-31-2017 08:48 BJT

(Source: CGTN)

In China's prestigious and highly competitive Tsinghua University, a new rule says graduating students need something more than just exceptional brain-power. They'll have to start swimming for their diplomas too.

Swim 50 meters without stopping. Fail it and you won't be getting your diploma. It may seem strange, but it's not new for the university that first had this rule in 1919.

"We're reviving this tradition, because it's great---- It's good exercise, and it's a survival skill. Tsinghua takes pride in having its students get regular exercise. It's good for them, and good for their future work. And let's face it, they aren't as strong as before," Liu Bo, physical education director of Tsinghua University, said.

Former students say they started exercising so they wouldn't look sickly, as most students did then.

Today, many Chinese students are not as fit as they can be. A national survey in 2015 shows 20-year-old boys run slower and have less stamina. And across the board, students are more likely to have problems with their weight and eyesight than just a few years ago. Many say the reason is because students spend too much time in the classroom. Another national survey found 60 percent of high-schoolers spend more than nine hours a day studying.

"Schools are not giving students enough time to exercise. I think it's good that they make physical fitness a requirement for students. Of course, it would be better if students are allowed to choose their own activities," Chu Chaohui with National Institute of Education Sciences said.

That's just what many of the school's students want.

Whatever it is they do, these students will be sweating over more than just their grades.

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