TRUANTS and slackers had better be on their best behavior, as Big Brother is watching.
A university in China’s central Hubei province has placed closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras all over its 181-acre campus, including classrooms and dormitories.
Last year, Wuchang University of Technology, in Wuhan city, shelled out 6 million yuan (US$911,120) to have the surveillance system set up in order to encourage “good study habits” among its 12,500 undergraduates.
While CCTVs in classrooms is nothing new in China, where the government prefers to keep a close eye on its teaching staff and students to make sure they keep to the state-approved syllabus, at Wuchang, students can’t catch a break, as cameras have also been installed in their resident halls.
One of the university’s professors, Yu Chengqing, said the cameras have discouraged students from playing around with their handphones and taking surreptitious naps during class.
The website quoted an unnamed employee, who said: “After the cameras were installed, the study environment improved a great deal.”
“Phenomena such as playing with phones, napping or chatting during class have virtually disappeared.”
Yan Yue, a student at the university, said the knowledge that they were being monitored had improved discipline among students and motivated them to work harder.
Some students, however, have expressed their unease with the constant surveillance.
Speaking to local newspaper Chutian Metropolis Daily, one student shared that many female students were disconcerted with the cameras in their dorms, adding that this was particularly problematic during the summer, when students preferred to wear fewer clothes.
Over the past few years, the use of CCTV cameras has become more prevalent in China, as authorities attempt to monitor and regulate everything that happens within the country’s borders.