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Only by linking the safety of schoolhouses with officials' political performance will local governments really take the issue seriously, says an article on the website of Xinhua News Agency. Following is an excerpt:

The State Council recently decided to reinforce the safety standards of schoolhouses in primary and secondary schools across the country.

Local governments should go all out to carry out the central government's instructions, for schoolhouses are directly related to the lives of students and teachers and to social harmony and stability.

In past years, local governments haven't invested enough money in the construction and maintenance of schoolhouses in primary and secondary schools, causing numerous safety problems.

According to statistics, as many as 33.58 million square meters of primary and secondary schoolhouses in the country are plagued with safety problems.

Local governments have used all kinds of excuses, but one of them is a shortage of funds. But do these governments really lack money in strengthening the safety of schoolhouses?

Not really.

Few can believe they are really short of money when they splurge money on luxurious government offices and strain every nerve to find money to foot the bills for their frequent dinners and parties as well as overseas tours.

The real reason is that they think little of this safety problem.

So, it's necessary to include the safety of schoolhouses in the evaluation of local officials' performance. Their contributions to educational development should be considered an important part of their duties.

(China Daily April 7, 2009)

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