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Study tours good for youth if caution taken: Experts

By Zhao Xinying | | Updated: 2017-04-09 15:17

Children should have more opportunities to participate in study tours or other outdoor activities only if their safety is guaranteed, experts said.

In developed countries, including the United States and Japan, study tours such as summer camps are key activities and are always the source of unforgettable memories, Sun Yunxiao, chief expert of the China Youth and Children Research Center said at a press conference recently held by China's leading travel agency, CYTS, in Beijing.

"But in China, young people are having less opportunity to enjoy such activities and memories because schools and parents are cutting down on these for fear of security issues," he said.

In recent years, accidents in which children were killed or injured while participating in outdoor activities, such as study tours or spring outings, have been frequently reported by the media and have raised concerns among parents. Some reduced the length of organizing outings, believing that it is a straightforward way to protect children.

Dai Jiagan, standing vice chairman of the Chinese Society of Education, said test-oriented education is also part of the cause for the shrinking number of study tours.

"Student workloads are heavy, leaving them little time for traveling, which should have helped children improve their studies by enriching their knowledge and broadening their visions," he said.

In December, 11 ministries and commissions, including those related to education, culture, public security, transport and tourism administration, jointly released a guideline stating that study tours would become part of the curriculum system at primary and middle schools nationwide.

Young students are encouraged to conduct study tours and the ministries and commissions should work together closely to provide support and ensure the safety of the students, the guideline said.

Dai and Sun said they believe this is a great opportunity for study tours to get back on track.

Sun said there are 12,000 sites for summer camps in the US, among which 7,000 could offer accommodation.

"In China, there are very few such professional camp sites," he said. "I suggest more professional and eminent travel service providers being involved to facilitate study tours while ensuring safety, so that children can enjoy the tours and really benefit from the experience."

Gao Zhiquan, vice president of CYTS, said their company, as one under the Communist Youth League, has acted in this direction and has set up a study tour department to cooperate directly with schools and educational institutions by providing study tours, community immersion programs and so on, which are popular among students.

"We will try to combine education with tourism in a proper way and find the best-fit paths and activities for the young people," he said.

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