Tsinghua University has announced that starting from this year, its students will not be given graduation certificate upon graduation without having learned the skill to swim. Beijing Youth Daily commented on Tuesday:
Some people have applauded the new rule while others are against it.
More attention being given to physical exercise is a good development, but there are other sports activities besides swimming that students can do. Letting them choose for themselves whatever sports they feel fit or love to play would help arouse their enthusiasm for compulsory physical exercise.
In fact, it is whether or not physical exercise can be made a compulsory part of the students' courses and whether students can develop an interest in participating in a sport they enjoy that make a difference. If it is a collective decision, made by the university and students, then all parties may respect the decision. If it is just the will of the university president, it is quite debatable and it will likely prove hard to be accepted by students.
However, Tsinghua did make a lot of preparations so the decision would be accepted by all students. Those who are not fit for swimming because of their physical conditions can be exempted from this course. Both facilities and conditions have been developed for students to learn swimming. The problem is that opinions from students should have been solicited before the decision was made.
It is indeed necessary to encourage Chinese university students to take more exercise. But swimming or other physical exercise should be a selective course.