Campuses increasing security for semester

Updated: 2012-02-09 07:47

By Wang Hongyi (China Daily)

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Districts conduct training and hire thousands of additional staff

SHANGHAI - With the start of a new semester, the city's education departments are working to improve security in local schools and kindergartens.

The city's Yangpu district, which has the largest number of schools in the city, announced this week that it will integrate resources and allocate nearly 1,000 professional security personnel to its 188 middle and primary schools and 202 kindergartens this year.

"Schools and kindergartens have actually had security personnel before, but they were usually from several different companies, and they had varying levels of experience," Yao Wen, an official from the education department of Yangpu district, said on Wednesday.

"Besides, most of them are relatively old, usually between 50 and 60. This may make it difficult for them to protect the safety of a campus," she added. This year, the district decided to further improve the quality of security personnel by investing around 30 million yuan ($4.8 million) to hire a professional company, which was selected through public bidding, she said.

According to the plan, each school and kindergarten, both public and private, will have at least two security personnel, whose average age will be under 50. The management and training will be handled by a professional security company.

Meanwhile, salaries of security personnel were also raised from 1,300 yuan to 2,200 yuan per month.

"Low salary often leads to high turnover, which has been a headache for a long time," Yao said, adding the government hopes the wage hike will result in improved stability.

In the city's Xuhui district, around 400 security personnel received regular professional training before the new semester opened. The training included various aspects, such as firefighting knowledge and violence prevention.

Qian Shiyong, an official from Xuhui district's education bureau, said this training is held every semester to improve the responsibility and awareness of security staff.

All the security personnel should receive a qualification certificate before taking up the posts.

The city has taken great strides to ensure campus safety over the past years. In addition to equipping schools with alarms and monitoring systems, students were also taught first-aid knowledge as well as the danger of talking to strangers and how to react to fires.

At the beginning of the year, the city launched compulsory standards for safety management in elementary and secondary schools and kindergartens.

The standards, the first of their kind in the country, give a detailed description of safety obligations of campus personnel. It also makes clear that the principal of a school or kindergarten will be the first one responsible for the safety of schools and kindergartens.

"The city has always attached great importance to safety management in schools. The standards will give a specific guideline, under which schools and kindergartens can continually improve their work," said Yin Qinghou, deputy director of Shanghai municipal education commission.