Wed, Aug 22, 2007 - Page 4 News List

MOE to set up 450 sports centers over next three years

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The Ministry of Education (MOE) plans to provide NT$270 million (US$8.18 million) over the next three years to set up 450 sports centers on campuses around the country in an effort to encourage students to exercise regularly and help them cultivate "lifestyles of health and sustainability" (LOHAS), a ministry official said yesterday.

LACK OF FACILITIES

Department of Physical Educa-tion Director Chien Ming-chung (簡明忠) said as sports facilities have been lacking at all levels of schools nationwide -- particularly indoor exercise facilities -- the ministry decided to launch the program in collaboration with local governments to help solve the problem.

Only 18 percent of schools are equipped with such facilities, he said.

This year, the ministry will provide funds for 50 elementary and junior high schools to set up LOHAS exercise centers, he said.

QUALIFICATIONS

Any school with more than 12 classes, 300 students and two or three spare rooms is eligible to apply for funding, Chien said.

The program's first LOHAS sports centers are expected to open in December, he said.

Over the next two years, the program will be expanded to cover senior high schools and vocational high schools, with NT$600,000 in funds to be provided for each facility to be set up, he said.

HEALTHY HABITS

Chien said the main appeal of the program is that it makes the most of spare space on campuses, develops schools' creativity and special characteristics, aims to set up diversified and attractive exercise facilities and promotes healthy exercise habits.

Under the initial plan, the LOHAS sports centers will be furnished with an array of popular indoor exercise equipment, such as dance machines, trampolines, batting cages and climbing facilities, to spur interest in exercise among young people.

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