Note: I am currently enjoying some vacation time in America with my mom in Marshall, IL. The semester has been crazy-busy, which has made me a bit lax on postings. Let me update you a bit on some happenings from China, as mentioned in my summer newsletter which just went out yesterday.
Last October, the Provincial Education Bureau made available to all 3-year vocational institutions in Sichuan Province the ability to apply for Most Excellent Vocational School status. This is the first time such a title has ever been offered to a 3-year college.
I learned there were 50 vocational colleges, including ours, that applied. Out of those, 25 were chosen as possible candidates to receive Most Excellent status.
In January, we had a week of experts who came to the college. They walked the campus, talked to students, inspected classrooms, analyzed our technical training facilities, and reviewed future building plans which include 2 dormitories, a sports’ complex, another faculty housing residency and 2 more teaching buildings. Before leaving, the inspectors also extensively interviewed our president.
In February, it was announced: 15 vocational colleges, including ours, have been selected to complete their future plans in 3-years’ time. After 3 years, the inspectors will return again to see what changes have taken place and what promised goals have been met.
That final inspection in 2021, will determine which colleges will achieve Most Excellent Vocational School status for the province. It will enable the college to receive more government funding, gain the prestige of having higher educational standards and boost enrollment of better educated students.
The New Male Dormitory: A Speedy Undertaking
Due to this announcement, our campus has exploded in ongoing construction projects. In a 100-day time-frame, the new student dormitory, in front of my apartment building, is almost completed for its August 30 opening. I’ve been watching it quickly progress since Day 1, which had the giant machinery drilling deep holes for the foundation on a 24-hour basis. Fortunately for me, I live in the back of the building where the horrendous ruckus was muffled and at some times, barely audibly. Those in the front apartments, however, were inundated in noise. Many I talked to were sleep-deprived for an entire week during that initial foundation-setting was happening. Few ere able to sleep at night or during the day for their noontime naps due to the noise
Construction workers for this project are currently set at 60. I talked to many of them, some being from Luzhou which allowed them to go home after shifts. Others were from out-of-town. The out-of-towners live in housing units which were brought in and put together in a day. These line the roadway leading toward the East gate of the school.
Also included in the housing units were bathroom facilities and a cooking 1-room building. When I popped in, the main cook and assistants were busy chopping and preparing the noontime meal, offered free to the workers. Each received 3,000 yuan (roughly $500) a month to prepare the meals.
Next to the kitchen area, a covered tarp area (for shade from the sun) was set up with wooden benches and tables to accommodate those eating.
Cement, gravel and dirt trucks have been lumbering back and forth continuously from the site in front of my building. These same vehicles have also been hauling their loads to and from the sports field where the swimming pool and indoor sports’ stadium have already being started. That project will take much longer than a 100-day period and I expect it’ll be completed in a year.
I’ve also noticed landscaping of neglected, weedy lawns is likewise being dealt with. Yes, it’ll be noisy, dusty and busy with so much labor-intensive building going on these next 2 years but, hopefully, it’ll all be worth it.
I expect when I return in a few weeks, I’ll see great progress in what’s been going on. We shall see!