School safety was in focus again yesterday when the Ministry of Education (MOE) reminded all schools, including kindergartens, that safety education is mandatory.
The message took on a particular sense of urgency and purpose following the devastating floods in Ning'an, in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, which killed 99 primary school children.
Six specific measures have to be implemented to ensure safety at schools, said Chen Xiaoya, vice minister of education, during a teleconference jointly held by the Ministry of Public Security and the MOE yesterday in Beijing.
Schools have to coordinate safety measures with local public security authorities.
Local authorities should conduct safety checks in schools nationwide. Any classroom deemed dangerous has to be renovated or rebuilt.
School buses have to undergo safety checks by traffic departments, private vehicles are not allowed to be used as school buses.
The production and dealing of dangerous goods and articles are strictly forbidden on campus. Vehicles which do not belong to the school cannot be parked on the campus.
Emergency drills to handle floods, mudslides, earthquakes and fire have to be held in both urban and rural schools.
Boarding schools should have night patrols and roll calls to check all students are in the dormitory.
"Safety education is being emphasized once more," said Ma Jiabin, an official with the Elementary Education Division of MOE, referring to the Shalan flood.
Safety awareness already has a place in the school curriculum and since 1996 the last Monday in March has been designated Safety Education Day for primary and secondary schools, Ma said.
Different themes are chosen each year and, with road accidents being listed as the No 1 student killer, traffic safety has become this year's focus. "The whole of society ought to shoulder it, especially parents, who are our children's first teachers," said Ma.
(China Daily June 17, 2005)