Starting from September 1 there will no more levels in physical training classes, but only pass-fail rates, education minister Dmytro Tabachnyk informed the meeting of teaching employees in Dnipropetrovsk.

The new program will be introduced only for elementary school, meaning 1-4 grades. This year, the new system will be applied to the first-graders only, the rest of pupils will be leveled. The next year the system will be extended to the second-graders, and from September 1, 2015 it will cover all pupils of the elementary school.

There have been some tragic accidents associated with the physical training classes in schools. In 2008-2009 15 pupils died while passing training standards, running races, playing sport games or making warming-up exercises. In the most cases, they had heart attacks. Back then the parents' community boiled over - exercises are impossible and training standards must be simplified - which was made in 2009.

However, doctors constantly warn the society about worsening of children's health and risks of sedentary lifestyle and obesity problem. Physical training classes are no longer popular, and many pupils have liberation from these classes. Wandering whether the cancellation of the level system and introduction of pass-fail rates can attract more pupils to the physical training and whether it can make classes less dangerous for heath, ForUm has asked officials of the education system, teachers and deputies for their opinions.

Halyna Laktionova, D.Ed., honorary figure of Ukrainian education:

- Such practice can be applied, but only time can prove its effectiveness.

Oksana Bryk, professor of the psychology and pedagogy department of the Kyiv Mohyyanska Academy:

- This system is insidious, as we will never know exactly how well our children are physically developed. Already now, figures show that our children physically weak, while they have to live with such poor health for years after all. 

Speaking about introduction of the pass-fail rates for all secondary school pupils, I would say the decision is partially right. Bad mark in physical training can ruin the average mark in the diploma of graduation. On the other side, the pass-fail system does not motivate pupils to improve their physical conditions.

It used to be cool to be strong and fast, but modern standards of Hollywood with its muscular actors and glamourous beauty make children think they would never reach such levels, thus children stop improving at all.

Oleksandr Shpakov, leading coach of Kyiv Dynamo junior football team:

- I believe marks motivate children to do better. On the other hand, I see our younger generation getting weaker and weaker - manifestation of Chernobyl.

Moreover, I have studied the evaluation methods for physical training, and I can tell you that sometimes the exercises are not adequate to the age. I don't remember children being hurt during physical training classes in the past. Nowadays, teachers carry out experiments, introducing various methods. Their mistake is that physical training in school includes sport, while there must be a distinct line between physical development and sport. I would be better to lower standards and organize better classes, but to keep marks.

Stepan Davimuka, MP, deputy head of the parliamentarian committee on education and science:

- A child must have something to strive for, including in physical culture sector. This decision will merely weaken our children more. Ukraine should open new sport schools and swimming pools for kids, not to cancel the leveling system.

Tetyana Bakhteyeva, MP, head of the parliamentary committee on health care:

- The situation is that our children have numerous chronic diseases, including spine and locomotive system disorders, autonomic nervous system diseases and vision problems. 30% of pupils suffer obesity. They simply cannot pass the same standards healthier children do. Jumping and running for a mark twice a week will not make children healthier, but will affect the heart instead. The pass-fail system is more democratic. Now even those pupils who have liberation from physical training classes will be able to attend the classes without ruining their graduation diplomas because of bad marks in physical training.

Vasyl Kremen, former education minister of Ukraine:

- Physical abilities and capacities of every child differ. Total engagement into physical training at school cannot guarantee that a child will get high marks. Besides, we just need a healthy young generation, not an entire generation of Olympic champions.

I would go even further and would cancel leveling system in music and drawing. Success in these classes depends not on efforts and diligence, but on talent. If a child does not have a good ear for music, for example, he will never become an A student. And this is not fair.


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