Most schools resume classes

Updated: 2013-05-03 07:09

By An Baijie (China Daily)

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 Most schools resume classes

Students move their desks to classrooms at the No 1 Primary School in Tianquan county, Sichuan province, on Wednesday. Zhang Xiaoli / for China Daily

Many students in quake-stricken region studying in temporary shelters and tents

Most primary and middle schools in the quake-stricken region of Sichuan province have resumed classes, according to the local government.

A total of 322 schools in Ya'an city had restarted classes as of Thursday, while seven schools remain closed due to safety concerns, said Jiang Jianping, deputy director of the city's education bureau.

Most of the students are studying in temporary shelters and tents, as conditions in classrooms are dangerous, he said.

The magnitude-7 earthquake hit Ya'an at 8:02 am on April 20, leaving at least 196 people dead and 21 others missing. Fifteen students were confirmed dead, while 43 other students and 10 teachers were injured.

There are 357 primary and middle schools in Ya'an city, with classes halted at 329 since the quake as most classrooms and dormitories were destroyed, according to data released by the government last week.

The students were on leave during the May Day holiday from Monday to Wednesday, while teachers and education bureau officials remained at work, said Luo Xiangjian, an official with the city's education bureau.

Tianquan county's No 1 Primary School, the county's largest with 2,502 students from six grades, resumed classes on Thursday morning.

The school is 35 km from the quake epicenter in Longmen township, Lushan county. Its three classrooms, two office buildings and two dormitories were destroyed. No students were injured, as the quake struck on a Saturday and the students were not at school, said headmaster Yang Demin.

Volunteers from the Hunan Youth Development Foundation donated 2 million yuan ($325,000) and helped the school set up 34 classrooms, nine offices and two toilets.

The students received psychological counseling on Thursday morning, as some of them are still frightened, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Luo Qiong, deputy head of the Hunan provincial committee of the Communist Youth League, said the volunteers will provide financial support and psychological aid in coming days to help students restart their studies.

Le Pinghai, headmaster of Chenyang Hope School in Longmen township, said all of the school's 912 students from nine grades resumed classes on Thursday morning.

About 200 students from some neighboring primary and middle schools also went to this school to study, as their classes have not restarted due to various reasons, Le said.

Classes were quite crowded, with 68 ninth-grade students studying in a 50-square-meter classroom, the headmaster said.

"I hope the media pays more attention to the mental pressure faced by the teachers," he added. "Most of them have been working under a lot of pressure."

(China Daily 05/03/2013 page4)