Maternity leave has been granted to married female students of Suzhou University in east China's Jiangsu Province. The newly issued school regulation stirs the nerves of the public in a nation where sex and reproduction remain a taboo, especially on campus.
Stipulated by the latest version of the "Regulations for Student Management of Suzhou University," married women students can apply for maternity leave after procedural paperwork.
Now, after a swift verification by the school authority, the mother-to-be college student can bid farewell to her college life for a while and await the baby's birth.
As long as university students reaching the legal age for marriage are allowed to tie the knot, their reproduction right cannot be denied, remarked Yin Aisun, the vice chancellor of the pioneering university who presided over the compilation of the eyebrow-raising regulation.
"The University has no right to deprive the child-bearing right of the students who now have access to a legal union," said Yin, adding, "that's against the law and the women's lawful rights."
After the maternity leave, mother students can resume their education. Will the special group be privileged for some considerate measures such as a mom student suite, designed to accommodate the mother and the newborn?
Yin said "No," explaining, "The university, to the end, is an institute for higher education. We can offer the conveniences concerning the law and regulation but all other concrete matters such as the dormitory management still adhere to the school's relative rules and regulations in use currently."
According to Yin, in the 1970s, as China's universities and colleges restarted and took in students after the grim 10 years of the wrongly developed Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), many returned to schooling, including some who were in their midlife with spouses and even children. These married people, having the strong aspiration for knowledge, eventually finished school.
There are no inevitable problems and difficulties nowadays impeding mother students' path to a smooth graduation, Yin said.
China publicized the amendment regulation this March to scrap the long-time marriage ban over university students who have already reached the legal marriage age.
The Chinese marital law sets the legal marriage age for men and women at 22 and 20 respectively.
(China Daily August 5, 2005)