Performance in arts courses will become a factor in evaluating primary and middle school students, the Ministry of Education said on Thursday.
Arts education was insufficient because of lack of time, teachers and resources, which has hindered the development of quality-oriented education, said a course plan for compulsory education issued by the ministry on its website.
Chinese students are well-known for intelligence and diligence as shown by high scores but often show little or no artistic talent.
Many youngsters, especially in rural areas, do not know how to sing or dance and have never had music or art lessons.
Under the plan, class-hours for the arts should take up 9 to 11percent of the school time in the nine-year course of compulsory education, which includes six years of primary school and three years of junior high school.
Primary and middle schools should use arts textbooks approved by the educational departments and improve their teaching quality in accordance with national standards, it said.
Performance in arts courses should be included in a student's record as an important promotion factor.
Most urban schools have full-time arts teachers, but many rural schools lack such professionals. Some schools only have part-time arts teachers or have none.
(Xinhua News Agency September 26, 2008)