After hours of absorbed self-study, former guards at Beijing's best universities have now been reconverted into teachers, lawyers and white-collar workers among other professions.
Two security guards working at Peking University use one of the computers at the university's library.
Over 200 security guards at Peking, Tsinghua and China Renmin universities have attained their degrees thanks to after-hours self-study programs in the past 13 years, enabling them to move to more skilled careers, the Beijing-based First newspaper reported recently.
The security guards originally began working for Beijing Security Service General Company's Cultural Security Branch. Founded in January 1992, it began providing guards for roughly 200 colleges around the capital in June 1994.
Li Yueguang, supervisor of the branch company, spoke of the study sessions' popularity with guards. They were further encouraged by campus security leaders who chaperoned their wards, most of whom are between 18 and 25 years old, into spend their spare time productively as well as improving future job prospects.
In the past 13 years, over 100 security guards at Peking University (Beida), around 70 guards at Tsinghua University and about 50 guards at China Renmin University have all completed college diplomas thanks to the initiatives of the universities they protect and Beijing Security Service's after-hour classes.
Most of the guards, hailing from outside Beijing, have achieved two-year college diplomas, although a number of them have gone on to secure full bachelor's degrees.
Han Fei, a security guard at a canteen in Beida, topped even them by completing a graduate examination last January at the university's Education School.
"I came to Beida to study. We are so fortunate that we have time for half a day of study after work," he said.
With their new diplomas, the guards can now take their lives to the next level. In addition to the teachers, lawyers and white-collar workers, some former guards have become township leaders, directors at information technology companies and professional managers.
Chen Fu, a security guard at Renmin University, announced his plan to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language next year before vying to go and study at a North European country next year, following his graduation from the Further Education School of Renmin University.
(China Daily March 20, 2007)