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School curriculum to add counseling in quake-hit Sichuan
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China's southwest quake-hit Sichuan Province is to add psychological counseling to the school curriculum to relieve possible post-quake mental stress of pupils.

More than 300 teachers would take their new posts as psychological tutors in primary and secondary schools in 39 counties and cities after attending a training session slated for September, Thursday's Chengdu Business Daily quoted the provincial education department as saying.

The 39 counties and cities, including the Aba Prefecture where the epicenter Wenchuan is, are the places hit hardest by the magnitude-8.0earthquake in southwest China.

Primary schools must have nine lectures while middle school and high schools must have ten lectures in one term, said the Sichuan Education Department on Wednesday.

The lectures, which feature group discussion, role play, games, and life value analysis, were designed to help survivors cope with possible post-quake syndromes,said Liu Li, a section chief with the department.

Students could learn the basics of psychological self-adjustment, and their psychological status would be recorded during the class, she said, adding those detected with serious psychological problems would be transferred to medical institutions.

More teachers would be trained to meet the increasing demand of psychological tutors, said He Shaoyong, deputy director of the department.

The program is to begin in the area worst affected by the quake, and later rolled out in other parts of the province, he said..

The aim is to have at least one psychological tutor for every 1,500 students within five years, he said.

In Sichuan Province, no specified psychology class is designed in school curriculum. Students are encouraged to cope with their inner problems with the help of seniors including teachers and parents.

(Xinhua News Agency August 21,2008)

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