China students given assignment for winter break: Go home

Passengers arrive at Beijing West Railway Station to travel to their hometowns for the "Spring Festival" or Lunar New Year in Beijing.
PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING - In an effort to promote filial piety, a university in Fujian province has set aside 100,000 yuan (S$20,640) to reward students who returned home for the winter break.

Students at Xiamen University of Technology who returned home can enter a lottery through the college's WeChat account to be reimbursed up to 500 yuan.

The money will be distributed in four rounds during the break, which lasts until the middle of this month. The winners of the first two rounds have already been announced.

According to the college, students were given a homework assignment to return home and help out, such as with spring cleaning or cooking the traditional Chinese New Year Eve reunion dinner, and to interact with their parents and grandparents.

The assignment was conceived in 2012 when academic leaders discovered many students were making use of the winter and summer holidays to work as interns or take part-time jobs rather than visit relatives.

The lottery to reimburse travel costs was introduced last year.

Lin Zhicheng, deputy Party chief of the university, said the assignment stems from the college's education philosophy and is to foster students' enthusiasm for their heritage, in addition to learning new knowledge and skills.

"Affection for one's family is a basic responsibility. Many students, however, lack that affection," he said.

"We object to socialising during the holidays, because students have many opportunities to do that, but less time to spend with their parents."

The university's efforts have seen positive results, Lin said.

"Before we introduced the initiative, 1,000 of our 20,000 students remained on campus during the winter holiday. Now, the number has declined to about 100."

Cai Lingling, a student at the School of Cultural Industry and Tourism Management, welcomed the initiative and said students could also win money if they share photos or stories about their family on the university WeChat account.

"Before the special homework assignment, I tended to be lazy after just a few days of helping my parents with housework during the holidays. The homework is like a guiding light, reminding me about filial piety and the need to work harder," she said.

Li Junfu, an associate professor of sociology at Beijing University of Technology, said the university's special homework assignment could help students get more home education and preserve the country's traditions, many of which are rooted in family life.

Chinese New Year celebrated all over the world

  • A God of Wealth-shaped balloon is seen at a market, ahead of Lunar New Year, in Taipei, Taiwan
  • A mother and her daughter sit next to a chicken sculpture to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year of Rooster at a shrine on the outskirts of Bangkok
  • Chinese New Year Celebration ata Yangon's Chinatown.
  • Lunar New Year in Cambodia
  • Lunar New Year In Australia
  • Lunar New Year Celebrations in Australia
  • People pray with incense sticks at a temple as they celebrate the Lunar New Year in China Town, in Yokohama
  • Dancers perform a lion dance in front of a temple as they celebrate the Lunar New Year in China Town, in Yokohama
  • Dancers perform a lion dance in front of a temple as they celebrate the Lunar New Year in China Town, in Yokohama
  • A dragon dance troupe performs during the Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinatown in Manila, Philippines
  • The statue of Christ the Redeemer is seen illuminated in red in honor of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Rio de Janeiro
  • Lunar New Year Celebration in Indonesia
  • Lunar New Year Celebration in Indonesia
  • Chinese New Year Celebrations in Beijing, China.
  • Lunar New Year Celebrations in Yangon's Chinatown.
  • Lunar New Year Celebrations in Yangon's Chinatown.
  • Lunar New Year Celebrations in Yangon's Chinatown.
  • Lunar New Year Prayers at the Longhua temple in Shanghai.
  • Lunar New Year Prayers at the Longhua temple in Shanghai.
  • A rooster mascot performing on stage with performers from Dance Ensemble Singapore during the Chinatown Chinese New Year 2017
  • Members of the public laugh as they take photographs in front of illuminated lanterns during an event to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Sydney
  • Illuminated lanterns in the shape of horses during an event to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Sydney
  • A light show illuminates the Chinese Arch and surrounding buildings in Liverpool, north west England
  • A light show illuminates the Chinese Arch and surrounding buildings in Liverpool, north west England
  • Chinese New Year in Los Angeles
  • Children wearing costumes take part in the Chinese New Year, parade, marking the year of the Rooster, in Lisbon, Portugal
  • Lunar New Year Celebrations In Thailand
  • Revelers perform during celebrations for the Chinese New Year parade, marking the year of the Rooster, in Lisbon, Portugal
  • Revelers perform during celebrations for the Chinese New Year parade, marking the year of the Rooster, in Lisbon, Portugal
  • Lunar New Year, Croatia

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