Varsity guards turn students
WHEN Mr Zhang Guoqiang came to Beijing at 18 to work as a temporary security guard at the prestigious Peking University in 1994, having only a middle-school diploma, he probably never expected he could go to a top college himself one day.
Almost 20 years later, after completing basic education at the university, mainly through self-study, he has earned degrees in law and business management from Tsinghua University and a top party school for the training of Chinese officials.
He has even passed the National Judicial Examination, which qualifies him to be a lawyer in China.
He is not alone.
Mr Wang Guiming, head of the security guards at Peking University, told China Daily that since 1994, more than 350 security guards employed there have gone to junior colleges or universities to pursue higher education.
"The number has increased by 20 to 30 each year in recent years," he said.
Mr Wang said most of the security guards at Peking University hold middle-school or high-school diplomas and are aged between 23 and 25, around the same age as the university's students.
"Students at the university have inspired our security guards a lot, making them believe that they also have the possibility to become university students if they study hard," he said.
Mr Zhang first worked as a temp at the university for only 180 yuan a month, after stints on construction sites and in factories.
"I kept 80 yuan for living and sent the remaining 100 yuan home to support my family," he said, recalling his earlier hard life.
He realised a college education could be his ticket to a better life after he heard that a graduate of Peking University who worked for a foreign company could earn a monthly salary of more than 2,000 yuan at that time.
Mr Zhang, who is now the deputy director of campus security for the university, said his family is proud of him and he is satisfied with his life.
CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK