A funeral and interment academy opens in Qingpu

Hu Min
Qingpu District has approved a funeral and interment vocational education academy to address the shortage of professionals in the industry.
Hu Min

A new funeral and interment vocational education academy has been approved in Qingpu District to address the acute shortage of professionals in the field.

Shanghai Qingpu Li Ji Academy, a higher education institution approved by the Qingpu District Education Bureau, will establish business, industry, social sciences, and international colleges and provide education for self-study exam takers. It is expected to facilitate the continuing education of those who pursue junior college and bachelor degree.

Fu Shou Yuan International Group, China's largest cemetery and funeral service provider, will offer training in funeral and interment culture and service, mortuary science, funeral planning, hosting of funeral ceremonies, antiseptic cosmetics, cemetery management, operation, and planning, eco-friendly burials, and life education in cooperation with universities and colleges.

Enrollment will begin in late March, with classes beginning in late April.

"There is a severe shortage of funeral and interment staff in China," said Zhong Mengxuan, the academy's director of educational administration.

In China's funeral and interment sector, there are only 90,000 employees, compared with the country's 900 million labor force, or one for every 10,000 people.

A funeral and interment academy opens in Qingpu

The academy will start enrolling students later this month.

Currently, China has five higher vocational colleges involved in funeral and interment education, with only 1,000 graduates per year.

"They couldn't keep up with demand, and many people without certificates or vocational skills are working in the field," Zhong explained. "The industry's vocational skills and management level lag behind, necessitating the involvement of social forces in funeral and interment education," Zhong said.

"Some operations, such as antiseptic cosmetics, require those with professional skills, and to date, only a few hundred people across the country are qualified," she added.

Hopefully, more young people will join the industry.

"With death becoming less taboo, young people don't resist the job under intensified life education and partially because of COVID-19," said Zhong.

"Most employees in the industry are young, and they don't mind telling others about their jobs," Zhong said.

The academy will work with other vocational colleges to establish an industry-university-research laboratory and a teaching practice base.

It has agreed to collaborate on international certification with the National Funeral Directors Association of the United States, the world's leading funeral service association, and more international courses and certification training will be launched in the future.

In addition, the academy will provide life education and train social workers in the fields of senior care and hospice care.

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