China’s Colleges Urge Students To Pursue Love Amid Dwindling Birth Rate

The week-long spring break given to the students is an expansion of China’s one-day national holiday with the theme of enjoying flowers and falling in love.

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With an aim to increase the country’s birth rate, China has come up with a unique plan with many of the colleges offering students an extended spring break to pursue love.

The reports emerging from the country said various colleges in China have encouraged students to experience nature and pursue their love.

The move has been interpreted by analysts as a boost to the country’s falling birth rate.

The week-long break given to the students is an expansion of China’s one-day national holiday for the Qingming Festival, where families clean the gravestones of their deceased relatives and make offerings.

As per reports, the country’s nine colleges affiliated with the Fan Mei Education Group have announced this year’s extended break from April 1 to 7.

The vacations have been extended with the theme of enjoying flowers and falling in love.

“Students will be required to keep track of their spring break activities with travel journals, video diaries and photography assignments that will be exhibited when classes resume,” the report said.

It also said “pre-holiday guidance” should be given to the students “around the theme of the spring break to enjoy flowers and fall in love, to lead teachers, students and employees to have a meaningful vacation.”

China’s birth rate has been declining for several years, with last year marking the first time in decades that deaths in the country outnumbered births.

China dug itself into a demographic hole largely through its one-child policy imposed between 1980 and 2015. 

Authorities raised the limit to three in 2021, but even during Covid-19 when people were staying at home all the time, couples have been reluctant to have children.

Young people cite high childcare and education costs, low incomes, a feeble social safety net and gender inequalities as discouraging factors.

A high number of proposals on how to boost the birth rate were made at an annual meeting of China’s People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) this month, ranging from subsidies for families raising their first child, rather than just the second and third, to expanding free public education and improving access to fertility treatments.

Experts took the sheer number of proposals as a positive sign that China was treating its ageing and declining demographics with urgency.

China’s birth rate last year fell to 6.77 births per 1,000 people, from 7.52 births in 2021, the lowest on record.