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Wed, Jan 03, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Deaths among students rise 42% last academic year

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Six hundred students died and 3,460 were injured in 2,941 accidents on school grounds or while traveling to or from school during the 1999 academic year, which ended last June, a report released by the Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday said.

The fatal accidents include deaths or injuries caused by traffic accidents and injuries caused during school activities and suicides. The numbers represent a 42 percent increase over figures for the 1998 academic year. Accidents on school grounds went up last year by 51 percent.

The report said that 669 accidents could be attributed to insufficient security facilities on school grounds.

Another report released by Kaohsiung Kai-suan Psychiatric Hospital (高雄凱旋醫院) and Taichung Veterans General Hospital (台中榮民總醫院) said that, among students between 10 and 19 years old, accidents accounted for 44 percent of deaths. Cancer was the second leading cause of death at 6 percent, while suicide accounted for 3.5 percent of fatalities.

In response to the new figures, Minister of Education Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗) said young people were clearly growing up unable to cope with pressure and frustration and that it was teachers' responsibility to educate students about life and how to cherish it.

Tzeng declared this year "life education year," saying the ministry would develop new teaching materials that emphasize "the value of life."

Chen Ying-hao (陳英豪), a former head of the department of education under the Taiwan provincial government, currently working with the MOE, said the education ministry has drawn up plans for the four-year "life education" program, which will target mainly high school students.

To avoid violence and suicides among teenagers, An Tien-shiang (安天祥), an instructor at the Affiliated Senior High School of National Taiwan Normal University (師大附中) said that students are under enormous pressure from school work and that teachers needed to pay constant attention to students' emotional status and said more counseling resources should be available to students.

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