Why Hong Kong schools should reward students for doing exercise
- In fast-paced, materialistic Hong Kong, students may not be inspired to devote time to regular exercise without the promise of some reward
I could not agree more with City University students Stephanie Molloy, Isabella Wong and Jennifer Khan (“More homework for Hong Kong students? Only if it is in physical education”, December 29).
About 20 years ago, when I was studying at City University of Hong Kong, there was a programme called the Whole Person Development Award Scheme. It was established to encourage students to take positive and systematic steps to pursue overall personal development. Students’ participation and involvement in extra-curricular activities added to scores that led towards the award.
On joining the scheme, students were expected to participate in activities grouped under seven areas of development: spiritual, intellectual, physical, social, aesthetic, career and emotional. There were three classes of awards – Achievement, Advanced Achievement, and Excellence – depending on the number of points a student earned, as well as a reflection essay and a book report. When I graduated, I achieved the Excellence Award. This scheme is still in place today.
I suggest that when teachers prescribe physical exercise as homework for students, in order to make it more attractive, as long as the daily log is keyed in, perhaps the physical exercise for that day should be counted as part of the overall total score for the subject PE for that semester, if not for the whole academic school year.
Better still, if students join sports teams or clubs, and do fitness-related activities outside school hours and during the weekends, that should also be counted as part of the overall scores for the PE subject as well.
As far as I know, in a fast-paced and materialistic city such as Hong Kong, students are reluctant to participate in physical education unless some rewards come with it.
With the increasing number of obese secondary school students in recent years, I think that it is high time that our government tackled this issue.
Eunice Li, Shanghai