China / Society

Few school buses meet safety standard:

By An Baijie ( Updated: 2012-12-03 16:35

Only 10.2 percent of China's school buses meet the country's safety standard, according to an education official.

A total of 285,000 school buses were being used nationwide in 2011, and only 29,000 of them met the safety standard, Liu Limin, vice-minister of education, said.

He was commenting in an article published on Saturday in Qiushi Journal, a magazine published twice a month with a circulation of 1.26 million.

Liu said sub-standard school buses put children's safety at risk, as road condition in rural areas are bad and many drivers disobey traffic rules.

Many rural students have to go to school by bus because schools near their homes have been closed since 2001, and some have to travel for three hours to and from school every day, Liu said in the article.

The number of primary schools has fallen from 491,000 in 2001 to 257,000 in 2010, and 87.7 percent of those that closed were in rural areas, according to statistics from the Ministry of Education.

Liu urged local governments to improve supervision of safety on school buses, increase the number of buses and meet students' demands.

There have been frequent reports of traffic accidents involving school buses in recent years.

One of the most serious accidents was on Nov 16 last year in Northwest China's Gansu province, when 21 students were killed after a nine-seater minivan, overloaded with 62 preschool students, collided with a coal truck.

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