Ministry of Education report indicates health concerns for school children

BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Education (MOE) has released a report on the quality of the country's compulsory education, indicating a relatively high prevalence of myopia, obesity, and sleep deprivation among primary and junior high school students.

Despite the students' good performance in cardiopulmonary function, 8.5 percent of boys and 5.1 percent of girls in the fourth grade, as well as 8.5 percent of boys and 6.2 percent of girls in the eighth grade, are considered obese, the report said.

It showed that 36.5 percent of the fourth graders and 65.3 percent of eighth graders have poor eyesight.

Only 30.7 percent of fourth-grade students sleep for 10 hours or more per day and 16.6 percent of eighth-grade students sleep for at least nine hours per day, as shown in the report.

It also indicated a relatively heavy burden on students during the compulsory education period, as 14.7 percent of fourth-grade students and 19.2 percent of eighth-grade students spend over one hour on average per day on maths homework, while 43.8 percent of all fourth-grade students and 23.4 percent of all eighth-grade students take extracurricular classes for maths.

The report, the first of its kind, was based on monitoring conducted by the National Assessment Center for Basic Education Quality with the MOE between 2015 and 2017. It covered more than 570,000 fourth-grade and eighth-grade students as well as a number of school faculties across the country.

Children in China receive nine years of compulsory education, made up of six years at primary school and three years at junior high school.