A university in Qingdao, Shandong province, has replaced some of its cleaning staff with students, it was reported by local media on Sunday.
Since the new semester began in September, students at Qingdao University of Technology have been tasked with cleaning the school twice a week in groups of four or six, according to Qingdao Television.
Their performance is being graded, the report said, and whichever of the university's eight colleges receives the highest grade is awarded 10,000 yuan (,440) each month.
Xiao Tianlin, a senior official at the university, said the practice started in June and was aimed at cultivating an awareness of self-discipline and service among students.
He denied student claims that the university was trying to save money.
"We still have 350,000 yuan budgeted for employing cleaners this year," he told Qingdao Television in a phone interview.
A member of college staff who declined to be identified confirmed the report to China Daily on Monday, saying that most students hated the practice, especially with final exams approaching.
"The practice is a bit overdone since it has produced negative effects on students' normal study and rest," he said.
"Some youngsters are spoiled by parents and are far from professional cleaners. A number of cleaning staff should be hired to guarantee sanitation on campus."