The more than 100 students enrolled in Tongji University's college of women will have to choose from elective courses in cooking, needle work and other skills possessed by good housewives this year as part of a program co-sponsored by the Shanghai Women's Federation.
The courses will begin this spring semester despite a campus survey that found about 60 percent of students in the college are against the idea, many saying they went to university to learn profession skills, not how to keep a husband happy.
All students in the college will have to choose from several elective courses that include cooking, sewing, nutrition and health-care basics, household decorating and other basic skills of a traditional Chinese wife.
"Isn't it ridiculous to make university students learn household chores?" asked Yuan Chunfang, whose daughter will graduate from high school this year.
She said the courses will blur the distinction between one of the city's top universities and a vocational school. Established by Tongji and the Shanghai Women's Federation in 2001, the college of women offers two majors animation design and electronic information.
"It is understandable for professional courses to be taught in a way suitable for women, but so many craft courses make the university look like a housewife training school," Yuan said.
Educators say the skepticism about the course stems from misunderstanding.
"Learning some craft skills could better cultivate girls with not only life skills but an independent ability. That's exactly what modern young women lack," said Wen Minhua, vice dean of Shanghai Normal University's college of women.
(Shanghai Daily February 7, 2006)