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Holiday assignment for students: remain safe

01-31-2011 14:47 BJT

BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- Elementary and middle school students in Shanghai were assigned extra work during the one-month winter break: protecting themselves from accidents like fire and road mishaps.

Many schools also issued notifications, alerting parents of various risks facing their children, particularly during the days off that just started, the People's Daily reported on Friday.

The initiative followed the release of the 2010 Shanghai student accident report, which showed a year-on-year increase in the number of deaths of children aged 14 and younger from various accidents.

According to the report, 79 local students died from accidents last year, up 11 over 2009. In total, 1,723 minors were involved in accidents in 2010, slightly up from the previous year.

Drowning killed 27 students, the leading cause of all accident deaths of local children last year, it said. Traffic accidents claimed 13 young lives, second on the list of top killers, despite a slight decrease of three deaths compared with 2009.

Others included carbon monoxide poisoning, falling from a height, electric shock and fire, it said. About 91 percent of these lethal accidents reportedly happened out of school.

Also, winter and summer vacations recorded a higher frequency of such accidents plaguing students and migrant children who usually live in relatively poorly-equipped city suburbs with migrant worker parents, experts said.

Among all minor deaths due to accidents in the country, migrant children account for more than half, largely because they tend to live in cheaper lots close to roads and rivers and their parents are too busy working to take good care of them, said professor Yang Xiong with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

He suggested that authorities and neighborhood communities offer a hand, particularly for busy migrant workers, to better safeguard vulnerable young lives.

"Given 80 percent of such accidents could be prevented, we have to take actions to save and protect our children, many of whom are the only child in the family," he noted.

For the post-80 single-child generation, mental health should also be concerned, suggested Cui Yonghua, a leading psychiatrist at Beijing Anding Hospital.

Social changes over the last three decades for children in the single-child family environment and surging academic and peer pressure have partially led to rising mental problems among Chinese minors, he said.

That's also reflected in the Shanghai report: in 2010, eight young students killed themselves, six of them to defy inappropriate parenting by parents, reports said.

A previous survey found only 30 percent of Chinese children enjoyed their studies, said education professor Wang Zhenyu of the East China Normal University. The academic burden is too heavy and 49 percent of the students felt pressured by that, he said.

A fifth-grader called Yueyue in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province, made a name for herself over the Internet after her poem, Mom, I'm Under a Lot of Pressure, was posted online.

It reads: "Too much pressure and I hate the figures on the blackboard. When can I have a break from studying? I want to explore the grass and a flower, so mom, please don't keep me from Mother Nature."

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: China Daily

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