Friday, April 18, 2014

Why Are Mysterious Bars Appearing on Desks of Chinese School Children?

Yesterday I wrote about the Chinese truck driver who was impaled by a log that dislodged from another truck and came through his window. Today brings another tidbit from China -- and luckily this one is not gruesome like the truck driver story.

Take a look at these pictures and see if you can figure out why these two schools in China have installed the bars on the students' desks.

Pictures from

When I first saw these, I thought maybe kids were falling asleep in class, thus necessitating the bar. Then I noticed that they are all wearing their coats, so if it is cold enough to requires coats to be worn, there is little chance the students would fall asleep in the classroom. Then I considered whether posture was a concern, such that the bar would encourage them to sit up straight. That seemed plausible.

The real answer is actually unexpected. The two schools in China are implementing the innovative desk attachment device, which was developed by one of the school's directors, in order to prevent the students from getting too close to their workbooks, paper, and books. In turn, this reduces the chances of the children developing myopia, or near sightedness. (Notice the little girl in the second row in the bottom picture -- she seems to be ducking below the bar to write.) Indeed, my initial impression was correct -- that the bars will improve posture-- and that is a bonus. The bars could help prevent back problems when these kids grow up.

Would something like this be accepted in schools in the United States? I suspect most parents would think it is nonsense, especially if there is no articulable data to support a conclusion that the bars reduce the occurrence of myopia. Of course, since schools in nearly every state are implementing Common Core curricula, it's not far fetched that the nanny state could indeed install such implements of control on the desks of public school children.

Enlarge text easily for easy reading on the Kindle Paperwhite

No comments:

Post a Comment