SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Korea Bizwire) – Over 7 in 10 high schools in South Korea are failing to meet the required 150 minutes of physical education classes per week, a new survey has revealed.
South Korean students at only 25 percent of the country’s high schools now receive 150 minutes of PE classes each week, with the rest spending fewer than two and a half hours exercising at school.
Despite being closely linked to health promotion and physical activity, the majority of schools are failing to offer adequate physical education, according to the report from the Office of Policy Development for Healthy Society at Seoul National University’s College of Medicine.
Despite criticism and calls for more PE classes at school, the figures show physical exercise has been pushed to the periphery of public education.
Approximately 58 percent of the schools surveyed did not have quotas protecting PE classes from being replaced with self-study sessions for university entrance exams.
Only half of the high schools showed efforts to reflect health concerns and opinions from students and parents, with 51.6 percent conducting health surveys.
Just under 55 percent encouraged students to participate in health management programs, while 48.4 percent of the schools informed students of long-term health promotion plans.
The survey highlights a stark gap between students and schools regarding the perception of physical and mental health management programs.
Most schools said they were making an effort to tackle bullying, while only 68.8 percent of the students agreed.
Driving the gap even wider between the two groups was the question of whether or not schools were providing enough sport club activities and afterschool programs.
Just over 3 in 10 students said their school offered such programs, while an overwhelming 90.3 percent of schools said adequate sports programs were being provided.
“Schools needs to pay more attention to what students and parents have to say if they want to plan and provide more effective health management programs. Student participation needs to be measured so schools can be more effective with their policy,” said Yun Young-ho, a professor at Seoul National University’s Office of Policy Development for Healthy Society.
The survey was conducted with a sample of 2,569 students from 30 middle schools and high schools across the country, and the results were revealed at a policy conference on school health held on Friday.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)