• Chris McMillan

North China city includes eyesight, obesity in high school entrance assessment, sparks controversy

Global Times

13th October 2020

North China city includes eyesight, obesity in high school entrance assessment, sparks controversy

A city in North China's Shanxi Province has drawn controversy after setting eyesight and weight as part of middle school students' graduation tests results. There has been heated debate over whether the move is unfair and discriminates against students who have genetically poor eyesight and lower income families who can't afford corrective surgery.

Authorities in the city of Changzhi, Shanxi, said that including the two indexes in the examinations, which determine whether students can gain admittance into the high school of their choice, is part of the city's educational reform efforts. The city announced that from 2022, the city's graduation tests will add 50 points for students' comprehensive qualities, of which physical fitness accounts for 20 points. 

The regulation led to debate on Chinese social media platforms, with many people saying that it is unfair for those who have congenital myopia. Others said some students may have become fat not because of lack of exercise, but as a result of medication taken for certain illnesses. 

In response to public questions, local education authorities explained that the move aimed to encourage teenagers to get more exercise and protect their vision. They also gave assurances that those with congenital myopia or obesity from taking medication will not be affected as long as they can provide medical certificates.

The controversy comes amid a severe situation in China which has seen the number of students who have become short-sighted and obese increasing in recent years.  


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