Chinese schools set football goals
Updated: 2014-08-11 10:27
Middle school students take part in shooting games during a "fitness chanllenge program" in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, June 28, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
BEIJING - With China failing to qualify for the last three FIFA World Cups, the country has decided to improve football standards at schools and colleges.
The Ministry of Education is looking into establishing tournaments in primary, junior and high schools as well as colleges. Enrollment policies will relaxed so it is easier for schools and colleges to recruit talented footballers, according to a ministry statement on Wednesday.
The authority plans to increase the number of schools and colleges that have specialist football training facilities from 5,000 to 20,000 within three years.
President Xi Jinping, a soccer fan, has repeatedly encouraged China's footballers to make the step up.
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China has only ever qualified for one World Cup, in 2002. During tournaments, hundreds of millions of Chinese football fans are seen screaming for teams like Germany, Brazil and England.
The ministry said it will outline a mid-and long-term football development plan to popularize the sport.
Plans will also be adapted to promote volleyball and basketball, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, schools have been ordered to increase the number of PE classes for students, said the statement from education minister Yuan Guiren.
Passing fitness tests is a must for all students to graduate and further their studies, it added.