Chinese college launches morality bank

March 8th, 2012 - 3:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, March 8 (IANS) Students of a Chinese college can now open their accounts at a “morality bank” and earn virtual “coins” for doing good work. The initiative aims to encourage a spirit of volunteering among students.

The Chengnan College of Changsha University of Science and Technology in Hunan province, which launched the project, said the coins are tallied up in deposit books and students can exchange them for help or other benefits.

A student can earn one to three moral coins for an hour of volunteer service, while a blood donor can earn six coins, Peng Xia, founder of the bank, said.

Students are motivated to earn coins because for applying scholarships and subsidies they must have at least 10 moral coins, according to college rules.

The bank also offers loans.

Zhang Qinglin, an energy engineering major, borrowed five moral coins in October last year to exchange for a ticket to a performance on campus.

“Everybody wanted to attend the performance, but it was too hard to get a ticket. Eventually, I got one after taking a loan of five moral coins,” Xinhua Thursday quoted Zhang as saying.

In return, however, Zhang had to pay 2.5 moral coins in interest for the loan.

“That meant I had to do more good deeds in order to earn more moral coins,” he said.

Li Wei, deputy secretary of the college committee of the Communist Party of China, said the bank has stimulated students to participate in volunteer activities.

Currently, the bank has about 11,000 depositors, almost equal to the number of students. On average, a student spends about six hours on volunteer service each semester.

Citing a survey of 550 students, Li said more than 80 percent of students think they are more enthusiastic about public service due to the bank.

However, some criticize the bank for linking good deeds with rewards.

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