overweight.jpgParents are looking for the prescription stimulant Ritalin to give to their children ahead of the two-day college entrance examination. Ritalin is a drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). The drug is believed to help their children prepare for the exam. The entrance exam in China is a highly important exam for the number of places in colleges is too limited compared to the high number of students taking the exam. If parents in other countries fear their children taking drugs, these obsessed parents are doing the opposite. The assessment system needs to be reviewed for pushing students to take drugs to get good exam results is definitely not the national education goal. The school should not be the place to cultivate the habit of taking drugs to boost performance among parents or youngsters.

In another shot in the pant measure, dancing is made compulsory for high school students. They are required to learn seven dance steps, each lasting four to five minutes, to be performed during class breaks or in extra co-curricular activities. This will come as no welcome news for the overworked and overstressed students and teachers. Senior high school boys and girls who are preparing for the college entrance examination are also required to learn the waltz. This new measure is aimed at tackling the problem of obesity among youngsters in China. The physical education course will continue as usual.

The measure is a surprising indication of the level of tolerance and openness adopted by the Chinese government in embracing western culture. But will it work or add to the burden and stress of teachers and children? Tackling obesity requires long-term commitment, a change of lifestyle, as well as awareness of health issues and problems. Forcing students to dance for a few minutes in between classes will not change their mindset or habits and will not effectively tackle the problem of obesity. Looks like China is still an old dinosaur with outdated approaches when it comes to education policies.