Students banned to live off campus
Updated: 2007-07-07 16:38 China's Ministry of Education has banned
university students from renting private accommodation during their studies,
telling all students that they must share four to eight-person
In a notice issued on Friday, the ministry instructed all
universities to make the dormitories "another front for political and
ideological education" in order to create a "good climate for the students'
The ministry told the universities to strengthen the
administration of dormitories, in what it says will ensure the safety of
students and facilitate communication between them.
It also ruled that
students sharing dormitories should be classmates with the aim of making it
easier for teachers to monitor students' lifestyles outside the classroom.
Officials of Qinghua University, one of the most prestigious higher
education institutions in the country, have promised to implement the new
But some students have voiced their discontent at having
the freedom of choice taken away just two years after the government relaxed
regulations on student accommodation which allowed the renting of private
apartments off campus.
Zhang Ting, a student at Renmin University in
Beijing, complained to the Beijing Morning Post about her university cutting the
electricity too early every night. In most universities, the lights go out at
11:30 p.m. during the week.
"We know they just want us to have a good
sleep but we need more time to study for various kinds of exams. Universities
should be more flexible towards the administration of dorms," she said.
However, some of the students rent houses for privacy rather than study,
particularly if they choose to live together with a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Students say it will be difficult for the universities to prevent this practice.
Another Renmin University student, speaking on condition of anonymity,
said one of her roommates never slept in the dormitory because she lived with
her boyfriend in a rented apartment.
"But we have never reported her to
our teachers since we are all adults," she added.
Others favour the more
stable environment provided by campus accommodation. "I prefer living in a
dormitory because it is safer and I enjoy living with other people," said Pi
Xian, a third-year student from Nanjing University, who will live in a dormitory
with six others next year.
"But I do think people should have the right
to live off campus if they want to, as long as they realise they will have to
shoulder responsibilities if any emergency happens," she said.
think that if universities improved their student accommodation, then less
people would want to live off campus," she added.
The regulations are
most likely to affect students from a middle-class background. The cost of
dormitory fees range from 500 to 1,200 yuan (66 U.S. dollars to 158 U.S.
dollars) per year whereas renting private accommodation in a city like Beijing
can cost around 1,500 yuan a month for a one-bedroom
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