Chinese university becomes a laughing stock after telling students to do final swimming test ‘online’ before graduating

·2-min read

Shanghai University has become the subject of mockery after it moved a practical swimming examination “online”.

The dean’s office at Shanghai University announced on May 15 that undergraduates finishing their bachelor’s degrees due to take a 50-metre swimming test could participate online from home.

In China, students at some of the most prestigious universities must learn to swim before they graduate because swimming is considered a survival skill and improves physical fitness.

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‘Could it be swimming in the bathtub at home?’, one online commenter jokingly asked after the university announced the shift to online testing. Photo: Getty
‘Could it be swimming in the bathtub at home?’, one online commenter jokingly asked after the university announced the shift to online testing. Photo: Getty

According to the university website, the special arrangement for the final swim test was in response to the ongoing wave of Covid-19 in Shanghai.

To finish the online swimming test students had to log in to the campus network and answer an online questionnaire.

“The classes and facilities including the swimming pool at the university are suspended under the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown. To ensure the students can graduate, we decided to conduct the swimming test online,” an unnamed staff member from the dean’s office told Chinese news outlet Jimu.

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The university’s initiative has attracted widespread criticism and triggered a wave of mockery in China. At the time of writing, 65,000 users on Weibo had interacted with the post.

One person asked: “Is it a reality version of surfing the internet?”

Another also asked: “Could it be swimming in the bathtub at home?”

“Hahaha, go let the swimming sport completely and detach from the water. What a brilliant idea!,” another said.

Many online even imitated the students who were due to participate in the online test. One TikTok user, who equipped himself with swimming goggles and a cap, filmed himself jumping from his nightstand onto his bed. Then he started stretching himself and practising swimming moves on his bed.

China’s financial hub Shanghai, with 25 million people has been under a massive lockdown since April 1. On Monday the city reported 69 new Covid-19 infections and 869 asymptomatic cases.

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