Fri, Oct 17, 2003 - Page 2 News List

New report says classrooms not safe for students

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Control Yuan members yesterday proposed corrective measures to the Ministry of Education, arguing that the educational administration had failed to safeguard students' safety in the classroom.

Control Yuan Members Chao Ron-yaw (趙榮耀) and Leu Hsi-muh (呂溪木) initiated the correction, as they were of the opinion that the education ministry did not insist on protecting students' safety, as it allows the use of aged and damaged classrooms in numerous schools nationwide.

"The ministry failed to carry out its duty of pushing county and city governments to reconstruct old or dangerous classrooms, which were mostly damaged by earthquakes.

"This omission resulted in 2,061 dangerous classrooms still being used by 153 elementary and junior-high schools nationwide," Chao and Leu said.

Students in Pingtung County are at the highest risk, since 732 classrooms at 62 schools in the county were officially earmarked as unsafe but are still in use.

They also found that there were 177 unsafe classrooms at six elementary and high schools in Taipei.

"The statistics provided by the Ministry of Audit, following its assessment at the end of last year of nationwide reconstructions according to the classroom project, found that the ministry and local governments generally fell behind expectations of speedily improving hazardous classrooms," the report stated.

Taipei County topped the list with 1,339 classrooms that should have been suspended from use, according to the audit ministry's assessment.

The ministry acknowledged that there were 158 classrooms still in use in Taiwan despite an official warning about their safety in a report submitted to the Control Yuan on Aug. 27. Another 3,000 classrooms that were earmarked for immediate reconstruction remained in use in 180 schools.

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