Across China: Video awakens interest in "unpopular" major in China

Source: Xinhua| 2018-06-01 17:56:05|Editor: Li Xia
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SHENYANG, June 1 (Xinhua) -- A video showing the daily routine of students caring for silkworms at a Chinese university has attracted widespread interest on social media platforms, bring public interest to bear on some of China's most "unpopular" university majors.

In the video, students majoring in sericulture put silkworms into special pockets, ride tricycles and take them to a farm. The video was shot by a student at Shenyang Agricultural University, in northeast China's Liaoning Province.

"Studying an unpopular major is like walking a single-plank bridge. It is hard for outsiders to understand what they do," commented a Weibo user.

The university has had a sericulture major for 60 years. Only seven Chinese universities offer the major. Unlike the crowded college rooms for majors like finance and foreign languages, the Shenyang Agriculture University recruits no more than 20 students for sericulture every year. The class 2015 has only 10 students.

"I knew little about sericulture before I enrolled at the university, but after a year of study, I found it involves an extensive amount of knowledge of biology, ecology and plant conservation," said sophomore Su Xin.

"I do not regret choosing this major at all. It is interesting, and finding a job is no problem at all," she said.

Out of the 31 provincial-level regions in China, 28 of them have sericulture institutes. Most students enter these institutes after graduation. More than 91 percent of sericulture graduates in the past five years have received job offers before graduation, the university said. The rest of the graduates go on to pursue post-graduate studies.

Qin Li, a professor in his 50s, also graduated from the major in Shenyang Agriculture University, where he teaches now.

"We mainly study tussah. It is an arduous task every day to breed and study the silkworms. Talent in this field is still lacking in China," he said.

Though silkworm science may have a low profile, its academic value should not be underestimated, said Qin.

"In popular academic fields, competition is fierce. But in sericulture, as long as one sticks to the path of research, one will have academic achievement. I hope more people will be interested in the field," he said.