Au­thor­i­ties launch in­spec­tions of schools na­tion­wide

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - BY HU YONGQI and LI WENFANG in Guangzhou li­wen­fang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s ed­u­ca­tion and health­care au­thor­i­ties have kicked off a cam­paign to in­spect kinder­gartens, pri­mary schools and high schools na­tion­wide to see whether stu­dents have been given il­le­gal med­i­cal treat­ment or un­safe food.

The in­spec­tion, which will run through April 10, was an­nounced on Tues­day by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion. It comes in the wake of news that some kinder­gartens in Hubei, Shaanxi and Jilin prov­inces il­le­gally ad­min­is­tered pre­scrip­tion drugs to chil­dren.

The kinder­gartens were ac­cused of giv­ing chil­dren mo­rox­y­dine, a drug that fights the flu virus, with­out in­form­ing their par­ents.

Adding to con­cerns, two chil­dren died on Wed­nes­day of rat poi­son at a pri­vate kinder­garten in Yun­nan prov­ince.

Zhang Jian­rong, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at Shaanxi Po­lice Pro­fes­sional Col­lege, said the ad­min­is­tra­tion of unau­tho­rized medicine to thou­sands of chil­dren, if true, vi­o­lated crim­i­nal laws pro­hibit­ing the en­dan­ger­ment of pub­lic safety.

Two kinder­garten own­ers in Yichang, Hubei prov­ince, were ar­rested; five sus­pects were ar­rested in Jilin.

On Wed­nes­day, Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang called for tighter man­age­ment of schools to pre­vent sim­i­lar cases in the fu­ture.

In Guangzhou, Guang­dong prov­ince, 76 per­cent of the 1,601 kinder­gartens are sup­ported by pri­vate funds,

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ac­cord­ing to the city’s ed­u­ca­tion bureau.

Ed­u­ca­tion bu­reaus in each of Guangzhou’s districts launched in­spec­tion cam­paigns on Thurs­day that will run through April 7, when they ex­pect to pro­vide their find­ings to the city bureau, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by the top bureau.

The ques­tion of ad­min­is­ter­ing drugs to chil­dren is com­pli­cated by the fact that some herbs are clas­si­fied as both food and medicine.

Kinder­gartens in Guangzhou, for ex­am­ple, com­monly give chil­dren herbal drinks, in line with the weather. The herbs are sup­posed to pro­vide bet­ter in­ter­nal bal­ance of body chem­istry.

Such drinks are al­lowed if the herbs used are clas­si­fied as both food and medicine by health au­thor­i­ties, the ed­u­ca­tion bureau said. Herbal drinks to com­bat flu are also ac­cept­able if they are ap­proved by ex­perts and if par­ents are in­formed.

Chil­dren at Zhisheng Kinder­garten in Guangzhou are given herbal drinks once a month, ac­cord­ing to the school’s pres­i­dent, Kang Suy­ing. Par­ents are in­formed of the pro­ce­dure by list­ing it in the menu for chil­dren that is posted on the in­for­ma­tion board at the kinder­garten.

The health­care worker ad­min­is­ters other medicine only if writ­ten in­struc­tions are pro­vided by a child’s par­ents. The kinder­garten does not ac­cept health sup­ple­ments, herbal drinks or tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicines from par­ents, Kang said.

The city govern­ment of Jilin in Jilin prov­ince checked out 1,057 kinder­gartens and didn’t find any mis­use of medicine as of Thurs­day af­ter­noon, of­fi­cials said.

Mean­while, Wuhan, Hubei prov­ince, which ac­com­mo­dates 203,400 chil­dren at 888 kinder­gartens, has also be­gun in­spec­tions. It will check 74 kinder­gartens daily un­til April 4. Liu Kun, Ma Lie, Lu Hongyan and Han Jun­hong con­trib­uted to this story.

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