No one would be surprised to learn that building a school is an expensive proposition, but a palatial-looking campus which cost RMB 1 billion (USD 150 million) to construct has caused debates on Chinese social media.
Located in Jing’an, Jiangxi Province, the campus is part of the Institute of Technology of East Jiao Tong University. A group of photos published on dwnews shows the complex composed of a front gate, corridors, and buildings roofed with glazed tiles, all so magnificent-looking that almost everyone would think it’s a well-built tourist attraction.
The Institute of Technology of East Jiao Tong University was founded in 2001 as an independent institute. The campus in Jing’an sits next to Sanzhualun, a 4-A national scenic spot, and covers a total area of 123 hectares. The campus is currently still under construction, and is supposed to be able to accommodate more than 5,000 students and teaching staff when put into official operation.
After the photos were posted, many netizens brought up their doubts about whether it’s a worthwhile move to spend such a fortune just for the construction. “Feel like it’s more about ‘face’. What matters most for a school is supposed to be the quality of teaching rather than looking good”, one of them commented.
Another concern is where is the main investment comes from. According to a short video presented by the Beijing News, the project is mainly supported by private investment rather than the government, but no further details about the investor(s) have been revealed.
One of the workers from the Institute responded to public concerns, saying that the reason they’ve spared no effort and expense to build the school an ancient-looking campus, is that they are aiming to present traditional Chinese culture and embed it more into students’ daily life.
“The campus is not only for taking class, but will act as a practical educational site that provides special training programs including scientific experiments and research”, the worker added.
An introduction appeared on the Institute’s official website shows that the complex is composed of buildings representing the architectural styles of the Han, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties, and emphasizes their aim to combine history into art, and promote the rich Chinese architecture culture.
There are also many supportive voices on Weibo, such as one saying “Being palatial-looking doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t do a good job on providing quality education, spending a fortune to build school sounds less like a waste than building a shopping mall right?”