Soccer development set to score in new school curriculum
Updated: 2014-11-28 05:27
By Sun Xiaochen(China Daily)
Soccer courses will be mandatory at an increasing number of schools across China, a move designed to achieve the country's goal of becoming a sporting power.
"Soccer never used to be prominently promoted in Chinese schools due to the academic focus," Wu Wenqiang, assistant dean of Beijing Sport University's physical education school, told China Daily on Thursday.
The development of soccer in schools forms the cornerstone in realizing China's soccer dream to join the world's elite at major sporting events, Vice-Premier Liu Yandong said at a State Council meeting.
According to agreements reached at the meeting, the Education Ministry will take over the promotion of youth soccer from the Chinese Football Association and play a more prominent role in expanding the school league system to engage more children in sports.
Soccer courses will be added to some primary and secondary schools' mandatory physical education programs under a revised curriculum.
Students' soccer level as a specialty will be counted as part of their overall assessment, an important reference in school admission at the higher levels.
The Chinese School Football program aims to develop soccer specialties at 20,000 primary and secondary schools by 2017, up from the current 5,000 schools.
There will also be 200 high-level college teams cultivated to help form a talent pool for elite national teams, the ministry said.
Liu Hechun, a physical education teacher from Dongbeilu Primary School in Dalian, Liaoning province, said he felt motivated by the central government's call to popularize soccer in schools.
"Chinese soccer would have already reached a global level if the game had been promoted earlier in schools. We feel like we are taken more seriously than ever and we are inspired to work even harder," said Liu, whose school is a renowned base for soccer talent and has nurtured more than 100 national players.
Still, the lack of adequate soccer coaches and facilities is hampering the game's development on campuses, which require more support from the CFA, said Li Chunman, an Asian Football Confederation-licensed soccer lecturer.
"The CFA shouldn't be hands off. Instead, it should offer technical training to physical education teachers to guarantee that students are coached in the right way," Li said.
To that effect, a national program plans to train 6,000 school soccer coaches with help from the CFA by the end of 2015.