Local officials will be held responsible by the education authority if schools in their areas cover up campus accidents or fail to make timely and authentic reports of such incidents.
In a nationwide campus safety circular the Ministry of Education yesterday said all schools and local education departments should quickly report any accidents to higher educational authorities.
"Failure to do so, if exposed by media reports or public complaints, will lead to officials in charge being held responsible," the circular said. However, it wasn't made clear if punishment meant sacking or demotion.
The ministry said the safety campaign would focus on rural schools and especially boarding schools. Canteens, toilets and drinking water must meet safety standards, it said.
Unlicensed Internet bars near schools should be cleared away, criminal suspects barred from entering campuses and personal disputes between students and teachers resolved before developing into violence.
The ministry also urged teachers with psychological problems to seek treatment and take along with school principals campus safety training courses initiated by the ministry.
Last November 39 children were injured when a private bus carrying about 50 students went off a bridge in northeastern Heilongjiang Province. Also in November six middle school children in eastern Jiangxi Province, aged 12 and 13, died in a stampede when rushing out of evening classes. Eighteen children fell ill last October after eating lunch in a kindergarten in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Related Reading: Safety on Campus
(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2007)