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Housekeeping now a major at Shanghai university

By Cao Chen in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2020-08-13 08:02
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Students of an undergraduate program in home support services at Shanghai Open University attend a cooking class in July 2020. [Photo/]

An undergraduate program in home support services at Shanghai Open University, the first course of its kind in Shanghai, was accredited by the Ministry of Education in July and will admit its first batch of at least 25 students next year.

According to Lu Qi, dean of public policy and management at the university, the program aims to nurture high-quality leaders and practitioners in the household service industry.

"We will focus on providing well-rounded higher education that would help industry practitioners with their career development," said Lu, who is in charge of the program.

Individuals holding junior college diplomas or graduating from vocational high schools can apply to the program.

Lu noted that there has been a surge in demand for in-home services in recent years, especially elderly care and babysitting, as living standards have improved and an increasing number of families are seeking to enhance their quality of life.

However, a survey conducted by the university in 2018 showed that 71.3 percent of the heads of over 2,000 home support service institutions in the city had not received higher education, indicating a lack of qualified talent in the market, she said.

The university thus launched a diploma program for household service and management in 2014. The diploma, which is supported by the Shanghai Women's Federation, has taken in some 2,502 students since its inception.

"The diploma program is focused on skills training," Lu explained. "On the other hand, the undergraduate course will be more comprehensive, integrating theoretical study with practical learning and covering a wide range of subjects."

In terms of curriculum, students in the undergraduate program will take theoretical courses like family sociology and family aesthetics, in addition to compulsory courses like English.

Courses on household service business management, including an introduction to the modern service industry and human resource management, will also be offered.

"For example, students in the diploma program learn how to tidy rooms, whereas the undergraduate course module on family aesthetics teaches them how to help family members build a harmonious atmosphere," she explained.

Experts from household service institutions and professionals in areas like sociology, law and nutrition, will also be invited to teach, according to Lu.

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