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China's education watchdog orders intensified safety checks in schools
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09:35, November 21, 2007

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China's Ministry of Education (MOE), in an order issued on Tuesday, required all primary and middle schools, as well as kindergartens, to enhance safety checks and strengthen students' safety education.

In a circular to regional educational authorities, the MOE ordered reinforced management for boarding schools and a comprehensive inspection and overhaul of school heating facilities, especially coal-fired systems in rural schoolhouses.

The circular ordered the installation of extractor fans for indoor coal facilities and wind scoop ventilation systems for schools to "eliminate risks and effectively prevent carbon monoxide poisoning" during the winter.

The ministry also asked local schools to ensure school bus safety by tightening vehicle inspections and providing qualified drivers.

Local educational authorities and schools must provide on-campus safety training to students as soon as possible, it said.

This training must include steps to protect students against carbon monoxide poisoning and possible injuries from outdoor activities on ice or snow, the circular said.

It also warned students of the risks of taking illegal school buses or living in risky housing.

A spate of on-campus tragedies prompted the ministry to issue several notices to push local educational institutions to weed out hidden dangers and raise students' awareness of accidents.

In a recent incident, a two-year-old boy in southern China's Guangdong Province suffocated to death after being confined in a school bus for seven hours on Sept. 17, when temperatures topped 34 degrees Celsius.

In another incident, 83 pupils were hospitalized with food poisoning from a school canteen in eastern Jiangsu Province on Nov. 9.


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