For new students at Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University it will soon be sink or swim when it comes to graduation.
Tsinghua president Qiu Yong announced yesterday that in order to receive their diploma, students must know how to swim. If they can’t swim, then they can’t graduate.
The new rule will take effect for the incoming freshmen class of fall 2017. In fact, the swimming requirement was originally instituted at the university way back in 1917, but was discontinued later due to a rising number of students and a lack of facilities.
Qiu said that he’s reviving the regulation because swimming is a necessary survival skill that also helps to promote physical fitness and exercise among students.
After enrollment, all students must pass a swim test. If they can not breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle or backstroke their way 50 meters across one of the school’s pools, then they will have to enroll in a swimming course.
Tsinghua is one of China’s most well-regarded institutions of higher learning. In the recent Times Higher Education’s 2017 Asia University Rankings it placed third. In another set of reputation rankings last year, it placed 18th in the world.
Swimming used to be a requirement for graduation in many universities in the United States, but the number of schools that still require students to pass a swimming test is now down to just a handful, mostly located in the northeast. But the requirement is making a comeback in China with Peking University and Xiamen University also mandating that students learn how to swim.
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