BEIJING, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- While many Chinese people enjoyed the week-long National Day holidays for family reunions or tourist trips, Liu Hua, a middle school P.E. teacher living in Zhaotong City, southwest China's Yunnan Province, was busy organizing an intra-school football league for his students.
"We are motivated to share more time with students on sports training and extra-curricular activities as the Chinese government attaches more importance to physical education," said Liu.
Earlier this year, China's Ministry of Education issued a set of "double reduction" policies to ease the burden of excessive homework and off-campus tutoring on students.
"As students are not being pushed to study school subjects all day long, they can have more spare time for hobbies and other quality education," said Liu.
Many students are happy about the change.
"I used to take English courses on weekends, but now I have more time to relax and engage in sports activities," said 12-year-old Liang Song, who started to play table tennis every weekend in Wuhan Fitness Center since the summer.
According to Li Hao, head of the table tennis venue, the number of student applicants signed up for sports training increased by about 25 percent from the same period of last semester.
The government's shift towards making physical strength and ability a higher priority has also created a great development opportunity for the sports training industry.
According to a report by state broadcaster CCTV, since the "double reduction" policy was released, more than 33,000 enterprises related to sports and art training have been founded across the country, a year-on-year growth of 99 percent.
Meanwhile, the P.E. teachers face challenges while they are set to gain more support in the process of teaching.
"With more focus shifting to physical health and school sports, the P.E. teachers are gaining more recognition from both students and parents," said Liu Wenjie, a football coach and P.E. teacher at Liaohe Youtian Xingfu Primary School in Panjin City, northeast China's Liaoning province.
"But we feel more responsibilities now, so it is necessary for us to keep learning and upgrading professional knowledge and skills on sports," he added. Enditem