Two Chinese colleges are encouraging their students to use longer spring vacations to stop and smell the roses – and enjoy the birds and the bees.
Both the Sichuan Southwest Vocational College of Civil Aviation and the University of Xiamen have extended a traditional one-day tomb sweeping holiday to an entire week — moves that some see as an attempt to reverse China’s declining birth rate, Fox News reported.
Sichuan Southwest’s official announcement told students to “leave the classroom, leave campus, enjoy…nature and feel the beauty of spring and love” during the extra days off, the outlet said.
The pointed directions come as China’s birth rate continues to plummet, with only 9.56 million births compared to 10.41 million deaths in 2022.
As the aging population poses a threat to the nation’s economy, the government has tried to offer incentives to encourage young couples to have more children, Fox said.
Some of these benefits reportedly include extended maternity leave, tax cuts, and financial subsidies.
Some observers saw the colleges’ spring break messages as another thinly-veiled attempt to encourage a population boom.
“I’m sure this is just another attempt to push people into having more babies,” one person wrote on Weibo, according to Fox.
Many students, however, were excited about the break.
“I was thrilled when I found out about spring break. My roommates and I immediately booked a flight to Lijiang of Yunnan province and plan to have some fun there for a few days,” a freshman at Sichuan Southwest told Beijing Youth Daily, per China Daily.
School officials also reassured the public that the extra holidays would not cut down on teaching hours, as students would be expected to complete assignments like travel logs during the holiday.