BEIJING - The government has vowed to carry out earthquake-resistance checks of all school buildings nationwide following the May 12 earthquake that destroyed school facilities and caused deaths of students and teachers in affected areas.
The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development jointly issued a notice recently that ordered affiliated departments at all levels to finish the checks before September 1, the beginning of the new semester.
The ministries ordered local departments to mobilize and work together on a thorough quality exam, in accordance with quake-resistance criteria, of every dormitory, cafeteria and public bathroom, from the kindergarten level through universities.
Brick school buildings built before 2001 should get extra attention in the examination, the ministries said in the notice.
It also asked local departments to ban the use of any school building that has been found to be potentially dangerous during an earthquake and establish a database for those buildings. Local departments should also rebuild and reinforce such buildings before re-opening them, it said.
The notice said that the 8.0-magnitude earthquake that struck southwestern Sichuan Province flattened many school buildings and claimed the lives of many students and teachers. The aim of the checks is to root out hidden risks and to ensure the safety of students and teachers, it said.
Officials and people who are found to be accountable for quality accidents regarding school facilities will be dealt with harshly according to law, the notice said.