BEIJING, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday introduced 525 basketball pilot schools to boost grass-root basketball nationwide.
The pilot schools come from the cities of Beijing and Shanghai and the provinces of Anhui, Hebei, Henan, Guizhou, Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan, and Yunnan. They are all authorized by China's Ministry of Education (MOE).
Each pilot school dispatches one physical education teacher to receive professional basketball skill training from Aug. 10 to 28 in the training camps organized by the MOE and NBA China. The two sides built the cooperative partnership in October 2014.
Collins Qian, Chief Operation Officer of NBA China, said that they had brought the program of "Jr. NBA" to China for several years. "We agree with the MOE on the concept of combining sports with education," he said.
NBA China now operates a middle school league and a primary school league in Beijing and Guangzhou respectively.
By the end of this year, NBA China will build 40 outdoor basketball courts across the country. They also expect to run the games across provinces and cities.
This April, China launched "Medium- and Long-Term Plan of Chinese Football Development" covering a span of 2016-2050.
By 2020, China will have 20,000 football academies, 30 million elementary and middle school students playing the sport, and more than 50 million Chinese active in the game, according to the plan.
Since then, football has been more popular in schools.
Wang Dengfeng, Director of Department of Physical, Health and Arts Education of MOE, hopes the experience of school football could be used for reference by the basketball promotion.
"Sports education in schools should help improve students' physical health, teach them sports skill and competence, and cultivate their all-round personalities," Wang said.
"They are expected to understand more about 'respect and teamwork' through sports," he added.