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Behind the gold medals: Challenges to Chinese athletes' academic learning in a demanding economic and social environment

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Abstract:

This paper focuses on the challenges to provide academic learning programs for athletes in China. China has relied on a highly specialized approach to train athletes to win medals in all kinds of international games, culminating in the highest number of gold medals during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games. However, as job guarantee is gone, and due to a lack of policies that are effectively implemented, there is a large number of athletes who are separated from regular schools since very young age and have received intensive sport training (up to eight hours a day) while little time is left for their academic learning. These young athletes hence are dubbed as “low education achievers” and can not compete in the job market when they retire from professional sports. Those small numbers of people who find any success in the job market are those who have won medals. Parents are thus reluctant to send their children to sports-specializing schools. The author suggests that there needs to be flexible mechanisms to encourage athletes (about 50% of whom are still in compulsory education stage – from 6 to 15 years old) to study academically, and that the evaluation and rewards of the coaches be linked to the athletes’ academic learning. There needs to be a new system that systematically reinforces the academic learning of athletes, elevating the issue to a very important educational issue.
The author draws from her two decades of experience as an athlete, coach and professor. The first hand observation and experience provide the paper rich empirical data which are expanded by research and literature review on the overall level of Chinese athletes’ academic learning and challenges and strategies.

Author's Keywords:

Chinese education; athletes' education
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
URL:
http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492563_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Xiao, Jie. "Behind the gold medals: Challenges to Chinese athletes' academic learning in a demanding economic and social environment" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492563_index.html>

APA Citation:

Xiao, J. , 2011-05-01 "Behind the gold medals: Challenges to Chinese athletes' academic learning in a demanding economic and social environment" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492563_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper focuses on the challenges to provide academic learning programs for athletes in China. China has relied on a highly specialized approach to train athletes to win medals in all kinds of international games, culminating in the highest number of gold medals during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games. However, as job guarantee is gone, and due to a lack of policies that are effectively implemented, there is a large number of athletes who are separated from regular schools since very young age and have received intensive sport training (up to eight hours a day) while little time is left for their academic learning. These young athletes hence are dubbed as “low education achievers” and can not compete in the job market when they retire from professional sports. Those small numbers of people who find any success in the job market are those who have won medals. Parents are thus reluctant to send their children to sports-specializing schools. The author suggests that there needs to be flexible mechanisms to encourage athletes (about 50% of whom are still in compulsory education stage – from 6 to 15 years old) to study academically, and that the evaluation and rewards of the coaches be linked to the athletes’ academic learning. There needs to be a new system that systematically reinforces the academic learning of athletes, elevating the issue to a very important educational issue.
The author draws from her two decades of experience as an athlete, coach and professor. The first hand observation and experience provide the paper rich empirical data which are expanded by research and literature review on the overall level of Chinese athletes’ academic learning and challenges and strategies.


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