China's Ministry of Education on Friday suggested local authorities provide more safety inspectors at rivers or swimming pools to prevent student drowning, following a tragedy in which five children were drowned last week.
Wang Xuming, the ministry's spokesman, said students who found classmates falling into the river should shout for adults' help immediately and should not go into the river to rescue people.
"In order to prevent more deaths, we do not advocate children attempt to save children," said Wang on Friday's regular ministry press conference.
Student drowning mostly occur in rural areas, especially during festivals or holidays and on the way to school, Wang said, adding drowning is likely to happen when students swim without the company of adults in rivers or reservoirs with poor safety precautions and few visitors.
Wang called for local educational departments to step up safety measures and conduct safety training of students and parents
Five students were drowned in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality last Saturday when a primary school girl suffered a cramp while swimming, and three others as well as a passing boy hurried to help. They all drowned.
A total of 188 students were killed and 1,266 injured in various accidents in China in the first eight months of 2006, with drowning and traffic accidents being the top two killers, official statistics show.
The number of primary and middle school students killed in drowning and traffic accidents accounted for, respectively, 43.59 percent and 30.26 percent of the death toll.
The ministry reported 33 drowning incidents among elementary and middle schools during the eight-month period, which killed 85 people.
(Xinhua News Agency May 26, 2007)