Chinese university a laughing stock after telling students to do swim test 'online'

A Chinese university’s move to shift a swimming test online sparks a wave of mockery on social media.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

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.

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 the Chinese news outlet Jimu.

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.

ALSO READ: 'Happy and driven': Teacher in China spends life savings creating a school for disabled

China's financial hub Shanghai, with 25 million people has been under a massive lockdown since April 1. On Monday (May 16) the city reported 69 new Covid-19 infections and 869 asymptomatic cases.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.