International

Dispatches

By Emily Goodman — November 12, 2004 2 min read

SINGAPORE

Forced Fitness: PE classes are just the beginning for the growing number of Singapore primary school students deemed overweight. Above and beyond group ball games and other recess fare, such students are enrolled in compulsory “health clubs,” meaning a daily regimen of dribbling basketballs, running, and jumping rope. Teachers monitor each health club member’s height and weight monthly until the student slims down. It seems drastic, but government officials see little choice: By some estimates, half the nation’s population is obese. “It’s enough to alarm,” Mabel Yap, head of research and information at the government’s Health Promotion Board, told the Associated Press.

FRANCE

Unhappy Days: The most-watched reality TV series in France doesn’t involve people struggling on isolated islands or eating insects. Instead, the republic is glued to a new show featuring 12 boys and 12 girls facing an even stiffer challenge: surviving the rigors of a recreated 1950s French public school. The Boarding School of Chavagnes forces contestants to dress and act like students of the 1950s, including taking exams. Even the discipline is old-fashioned: Badly behaved students are forced to wear dunce caps and copy passages in longhand. The show seems to have sparked an interest in reintroducing the era’s severity. “Life is hard,” France’s conservative minister of education, François Fillon, told Libération. “The educational system must prepare youth for this challenge.”

CHINA

Bad Blood: Although many parents worry about school violence, most don’t expect it to come from teachers. But this year, Chinese schools have seen a string of bloody scenes, capped off by the stabbing deaths of four students by Liu Hongwen, a Hunan Province primary school teacher. Liu, whom the South China Morning Post reported suffers from a mental illness, also wounded four other teachers and 12 students. It was China’s third such attack in two months; in September, a bus driver stabbed and wounded 25 children. The month before, a janitor attacked two teachers and 15 children, killing one.

JAPAN

West Is West: “Land of the Falling Sun” could be Japan’s new motto—30 percent of students there apparently have trouble telling which way the sun sets, and 40 percent believe the sun orbits the Earth. That’s according to a survey conducted by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, as quoted in the Japan Times. Hidehiko Agata, an assistant professor at the observatory, told the Agence France-Presse he has an idea where such astronomical ignorance comes from: Under the national elementary school curriculum introduced in 2002, teachers only explain the movement of celestial bodies as viewed from the perspective of the ground. “Students’ experience with nature has become very limited,” he said.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

International Pre-COVID Learning Inequities Were Already Large Around the World
A new international benchmarking highlights gaps in training for digital learning and other supports that could deepen the challenge for low-income schools during the pandemic.
4 min read
International Part of Global Trend, 1 in 3 U.S. High Schoolers Felt Disconnected From School Before Pandemic
UNESCO's annual report on global education progress finds countries need to make more effort to include marginalized students, particularly in the United States.
4 min read
International How Schools in Other Countries Have Reopened
Ideas from Australia, Denmark, and Taiwan can help American district and school leaders as they shape their reopening plans.
11 min read
Students at the Taipei American School in Taipei, Taiwan, perform The Little Mermaid in full costume and masks.
Students at the Taipei American School in Taipei, Taiwan, perform The Little Mermaid in full costume and masks.
Photo courtesy of Dustin Rhoades/Taipei American School
International Photos What School Reopening Looks Like Around the World
Here’s a look at how countries around the world have addressed the challenges of opening schools during COVID-19.
1 min read
School children play football at their school sports facilities in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, April 20, 2020. Schools reopened Monday in Belarus following an extended spring break, but authorities allowed parents to keep their children at home even though the country specifically steered clear of closures and restrictions on public movement during the coronavirus pandemic.
School children play football at their school sports facilities in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, April 20, 2020. Schools reopened Monday in Belarus following an extended spring break, but authorities allowed parents to keep their children at home even though the country specifically steered clear of closures and restrictions on public movement during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sergei Grits/AP