The second domestic service course under the women's department of Shanghai Open University recently opened in eastern China's Shanghai Municipality. After receiving professional vocational training, graduates of the course can obtain college degrees from the university.
A total of 55 students will attend the course this year, with seven of them being men. Some of the students are managers of domestic service companies and some of them are interested in engaging in the industry. Aside from practical domestic service skills, they will also study theoretical knowledge, so as to become qualified and professional employees of the industry.
Vice President of Shanghai Women's Federation Wen Wenlei addressed the new class, emphasizing the role of lifelong learning in their lives and saying that she expects them to contribute to the development of the domestic service industry in Shanghai.
The Shanghai Women's Federation and Shanghai Open University also issued 1,200 yuan (US$ 196.9) to each student as an education grant.
After the course opening ceremony, attendees watched a cooking show by students from the 2012 class.
Statistics show that only 5 percent of 2,334 Shanghai families surveyed hire domestic service workers to do their housework and most of them only spend less than 500 yuan (US$81.7) per month on the service. The poll also showed that extended families have a much higher demand for domestic workers than nuclear families.
Statistics from the Shanghai Household Services Association also show that by the end of 2011, there were approximately 4,000 domestic service companies in the city, employing over 500,000 people, among whom more than 95 percent were women migrant workers and most of them had never registered with formal domestic service agencies.
Some of the families said they have trust issues with the domestic workers and thus the local women's federation is working to standardize and regulate domestic service industry in the municipality.
Shanghai is currently building a model domestic service worker center. The municipal government will also set up 80 demonstrative domestic service stations in qualified communities to provide reasonably priced services to local families and free training sessions to domestic service workers as a way to regulate the market and provide convenient services. By 2015, the government plans to expand the project to all communities in need.