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Access to campuses sparks fierce debate

Some universities have kept restrictions to public entry while others are letting people in

By Zhao Yimeng | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-26 07:13

Visitors enter Peking University's campus after it was opened to the public during the winter vacation. [Photo/China Daily]

Despite campuses being encouraged to lift pandemic-related restrictions on public access more than a year ago, some universities still have limits in place while others have thrown their gates open to the public.

The different approaches to campus access have sparked fierce online debate, with many arguing that universities have a responsibility to interact with the public and share their facilities. However, other netizens believe some controls are necessary to ensure the smooth running and security of the institutions.

Xiong Bingqi, director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, said a "suitable degree of openness" should be balanced with maintaining a healthy learning environment and the orderly operations of universities. "Unrestricted openness of universities can potentially affect the normal order of educational and teaching activities, increasing the management pressure on campus security and introducing potential safety risks."

Top higher learning institutions like Peking and Tsinghua universities face pressure to open to the public, however, their campuses could be inundated with an influx of curious visitors, he said.

"The facilities of universities located in busy urban areas might be stretched to meet demands if universities are fully opened to the community as local residents might flock to campuses for recreational activities," Xiong said.

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