Have you ever heard of a school giving its students a week off to find love? Well, that’s exactly what nine vocational colleges in China are doing to address the country’s declining birthrate. The schools, run by the Fan Mei Education Group, have announced a week-long holiday in April and tasked students with finding love.
Nine vocational colleges in China have given their students a week-long holiday in April, during which they are encouraged to “find love” and start families. The initiative, called “Spring Break for Romance,” is being promoted as a chance for students to “learn to love nature, love life, and enjoy love through enjoying the spring break.” The colleges involved in the initiative are located in several provinces across China, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong.
The purpose behind the week-long holiday: addressing China’s declining birthrate
According to Liang Guohui, deputy dean of Mianyang Flying Vocational College, “I hope that students can go to see the green water and green mountains and feel the breath of spring. This will not only broaden students’ horizons and cultivate their sentiments but also enrich and deepen the teaching content in the classroom.” Students have also been asked to write diaries, keep track of personal development, and make travel videos as homework. The move is seen as an attempt to encourage young people to start families and reverse the country’s declining birth rate.
China has been facing a rapid decline in its population, attributed to an ageing society and plunging birthrate. The National Bureau of Statistics reported that China’s population declined for the first time in more than six decades in 2022, with 850,000 fewer people at the end of the year than over the previous year. Working-age Chinese between 16 and 59 totalled 875.56 million, accounting for 62.0% of the national population, while those aged 65 and older totalled 209.78 million, accounting for 14.9% of the total.
Several local companies, provinces, and townships have been experimenting with ways to get people to marry, such as offering 30 days of “marriage leave” or launching campaigns asking city women to date rural older bachelors. However, critics argue that the government needs to do more to address the economic pressures and changing social norms that are driving young people to delay marriage and children. The effectiveness of the government’s previous attempts to encourage young people to start families, such as tax breaks and subsidies for families with children, remains to be seen.
Despite the controversy, the colleges involved in the initiative are hoping that it will encourage young people to start families and reverse the country’s declining birth rate. The move is also seen as a way to promote tourism and boost the economy, as students are encouraged to travel and explore different parts of the country during their week off. The schools have been giving a week off in spring since 2019, but this year’s theme, “enjoy the blossoms, go fall in love,” focuses on personal growth and romance.
The Chinese government’s efforts to address declining birth rates: tax breaks and incentives
The move has been met with mixed reactions, with some praising it as a creative way to encourage young people to start families, while others have criticized it as a gimmick that will do little to address the underlying issues driving the decline in birth rates. However, the initiative is part of a broader push by the Chinese government to encourage young people to start families and reverse the country’s declining birth rate. The government has introduced a range of measures to encourage young people to start families, including tax breaks, subsidies, and other incentives.
It remains to be seen whether this initiative will have any impact on China’s declining birth rate. While it may encourage some students to start families, it is unlikely to address the underlying economic and social factors that are driving young people to delay marriage and children. However, it is an interesting and creative approach to the issue, and it will be interesting to see if other countries adopt similar measures to address their own declining birth rates.