China chooses UCLan to deliver one of first sports course taught in English

17 January 2019

Degree course at Hunan Normal University brings fresh approach to PE education

The Chinese Ministry of Education has chosen the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to deliver one of only three Ministry-approved approved sports degrees.

Hunan Normal University in Changsha has collaborated with two principal lecturers from UCLan to establish a BA (Hons) Sport and Physical Education degree course for Chinese students, which brings a different approach to teaching PE in China.

Traditionally, physical education in China is taught in large groups around a set sport and using a formal structure, which means participants may not be active for a full session. The new UCLan degree teaches different academic approaches and looks to enhance key knowledge of a variety of physical activities.

UCLan beat off stiff competition from other UK universities to run the course in China, which is taught fully in English and involves many activities but sees the students also specialising in their chosen sports of athletics, basketball and football. It has introduced a skills-based curriculum focusing on agility, movement, positive encouragement and leadership to make the shift from concentrating on performance-based sporting excellence to regular participation in a range of physical activities.

"This joint sport programme with UCLan is part of our strategic plan, which will benefit our students, teachers and the internationalisation of the college."

Academic lead for Sport, Physical Education and The Outdoors at UCLan Nick Passenger is the course leader for the new Hunan Normal University sport and PE degree. Along with Programme Manager Dr David Grecic, the two fly out monthly to oversee and quality assure the provision.

Nick said: “The course mirrors the successful programme at our Preston campus, which aims to create teachers who have the knowledge to deliver physical education in a way that will develop pupils holistically. It is less focused on specific sports, as has often been the way in China, and instead teaches students to use a range of techniques to keep their class active, motivated and provided with the opportunity for long term participation.”

This new way of teaching ties in with China’s push to improve health across its population at a time when obesity levels are at an all-time high and one in four Chinese people are expected to be overweight by 2030. The Healthy China 2030 blueprint, established in 2016, aims to increase the number of people taking part in regular exercise to 530 million by 2030.

There are currently 82 students on the foundation year of the course and it is anticipated that this will increase to 120 per year.

Professor Tang Changfa from Hunan Normal University said: “This has been a unique co-operative programme in China. UCLan is rich in excellent teaching resources and in its teaching concepts. This joint sport programme with UCLan is part of our strategic plan, which will benefit our students, teachers and the internationalisation of the college. We are pleased to provide all the support and resources to ensure the success of the programme and are willing to conduct in depth co-operation between the two universities for this first step.”