Always ahead of the curve when it comes to getting top academic performances, China seems to have found a new way to make their students serious about studying.

Their latest secret to success? Surveillance cameras. As The Guardian describes it:

“A university in central China has reportedly been using surveillance cameras to monitor virtually every inch of its 181-acre campus, including its classrooms and dormitories.

A 100-strong team of officials has been tasked with monitoring the images as they are captured, according to a report on, a news website in Hubei province, where the university is located.”

Thus far, university officials seem pleased with the fact that continual surveillance is reducing behavioral issues and promoting a greater seriousness toward academic productivity. 

Others note that such a policy has turned the university into a prison, and students, particularly females, don’t appreciate the fact that they are watched 24/7 – even in their bedrooms.

In fact, the whole scenario seems to be a classic instance of life imitating art, with the university surveillance cameras channeling Orwell’s novel 1984:

“He took a twenty-five cent piece out of his pocket. There, too, in tiny clear lettering, the same slogans were inscribed, and on the other face of the coin the head of Big Brother. Even from the coin the eyes pursued you. On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on the wrappings of a cigarette packet — everywhere. Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed — no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.”

Such surveillance hasn’t yet hit U.S. colleges and universities, but is it possible the current cultural attitude might encourage it? Will the seeming inability of students to grow up and act like responsible adults – those who can handle difficult subjects with grace and intellectual thought rather than emotional arguments – eventually convince universities that they must be the continual babysitters of their students?

Image Credit: Michael Coghlan