China's 'Harvard Of The East' University Makes Swimming A Graduation RequirementBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
Tsinghua University, deemed as the "Harvard of the East," has announced an interesting requirement for its graduating students. Apparently, seniors should be able to know how to swim before they can graduate.
This was met with criticism on social media. Channel News Asia reported that Chinese social media users questioned the university's move to revive a compulsory swim test, which was previously removed due to an increase in enrollment as well as lack of facilities.
Others questioned whether the requirement was reasonable. This concern was especially for students living inland without access to rivers to be able to practice swimming.
Nonetheless, the administration of Tsinghua University pushed through with its decision. Liu Bo, director of Tsinghua's physical education department, said that students who cannot swim cannot graduate or study abroad.
He added that this move was intended to prepare students with the necessary survival skills and improve their overall physical health. The school administration will be making exceptions for some, though.
According to BBC, which deemed Tsinghua University as the "Harvard of the East," the institution first made swimming a compulsory skill back in 1919, but was later dropped. On Monday, the school announced that incoming students in September will have to demonstrate that they can swim for at least 50 meters using any style of stroke.
There were some who criticized the decision because, as one commenter wrote, the arbitrary rules "could snuff out talents." There were some who praised the move, though, commending Tsinghua University for emphasizing on a skill that can save lives.
The Global Times noted that the university will offer short-term swim courses over the summer for students to prepare for the exam. If they fail during the initial test, students can still learn and make up for it before graduation.
Tsinghua University got 35th place at the World University Rankings 2017 by Times Higher Education. It got 18th spot for the World Reputation Rankings last year.