No longer a playground activity: The Chinese government introduced physical education requirements, including a national jump rope exam in 2014, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- Schools in China must host annual jump rope tests for children from first to sixth grades. The tests have a grading system of Fail, Pass, Good and Excellent.
- Students must skip 17 times in a minute to get a passing score in the exam, but those aiming to get a Good result must do more than 87 jumps. Boys would need to make 99 jumps to reach an Excellent result in their grades, while girls need a bit more at 103.
- With so much on the line, some parents are now enrolling their children, as young as 3, into jump rope schools in order to secure a better chance to get into good schools. Prices for the lessons vary from $15 to as much as $50 an hour, with one-on-one lessons going as high as 2,000 yuan (approximately $309), state-run China Daily reported.
- Susan Zhang, a 34-year-old mother from Beijing, told WSJ that sending her daughter Tangtang to a jump rope school was “one of the wisest decisions” she made. Her daughter used to not be able to make even a few skips with the jump rope but after professional help, she now describes her daughter as a rope skipping powerhouse.
More pressure on students, parents: In an op-ed piece, China Daily pointed out that students are being pushed toward an exam-oriented goal rather than being encouraged to become physically fit.
- “Even the parents paying huge sums for their children’s rope-skipping classes are not aiming at improving their children’s health but just ensuring that they score well in the middle school entrance examinations,” the China Daily op-ed read. The activity has also put more academic pressure on children and has put an economic burden on parents.