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Universities in Beijing mull suburb relocations / by Chen Boyuan, May 9, 2014 Adjust font size:

A number of higher educational institutes in Beijing are planning to relocate to the outskirts of the city to accommodate their own development needs and balance educational resources within the Chinese capital.

As per the arrangement between the Ministry of Education and Beijing's local educationauthority, Renmin University of China (RUC) will move to Tongzhou District, Minzu University of China to Fengtai District, Beijing Jiaotong University to Pinggu District, and Beijing City University and Beijing Information Science & Technology University both to Changping District.

These new campuses will not "replace" the present campuses of the universities but serve as supplements, according to sources.

There has been no confirmation about how these present campuses will function in the future, though previous examples have shown old campuses usually accommodate graduate schools.

Other universities with similar relocation plans include Capital University of Economics and Business, the Central Academy of Drama and Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture.

Beijing's suburban districts of Changping and Fangshan both have growing university towns, the places where many educational institutes have either established their campuses or considering doing so.

Many cities adjacent to Beijing, such as Baoding and Langfang, both in Hebei Province, are rushing to build new university towns in an attempt to attract higher educational resources from the capital.

But in planning relocations, universities in Beijing tend not to choose another administrative region, since moving out of the capital would make them no longer "a university in Beijing," said Hu Bai, a industrial economic consultant in Fangshan District.

Faculty members are also often reluctant to move far outside the city because of the inconvenience in commuting, given that the intercity railways between Beijing and cities in Hebei are still only at the planning stage.

Also, despite Beijing’s overall strength in education, a wide gap in educational resources exists between Beijing's suburban districts and downtown areas like Xicheng and Haidian. "Relocating universities should primarily accommodate Beijing's needs," said Hu.

There is another concern that relocations will undermine the cultures of prestigious universities, because there is a general view that academic and cultural circles are attached to the old campuses that have nurtured them.

A faculty member from Minzu University said there has been no confirmation about whether the present campus will become a graduate school. But an informed source said all of the universities will retain their present campuses.

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