School safety budget to be higher next year: minister


TAIPEI, Taiwan — The budget for improving campus safety next school year will be higher than this school year’s NT$150 million, as the government will step up efforts to ensure a safe learning environment for students, Education Minister Cheng Jei-cheng said yesterday.

But Cheng did not reveal a figure for next year’s budget or provide details about new funding allocations.

He was speaking at a news conference at which the Ministry of Education and the Jing Chuan Child Safety Foundation handed out a school safety evaluation form aimed at helping students, parents, and schools to improve the safety of schools in Taiwan.

About 240,000 elementary school students on the island started their new school year Monday.

The evaluation form listed 28 dangerous behaviors which students should avoid in school, such as running or walking with scissors, or chasing each other in classrooms or on stairways.

The form also listed 38 criteria which parents and schools can use to assess the level of safety of school facilities and equipment, including playgrounds, classrooms, stairs, bathrooms, corridors, libraries, and parking lots.

According to the foundation’s chief executive director Lin Yue-chin, the number of accidental injuries that occur in schools have been steadily rising in recent years, with most accidents happening in school corridors or on playgrounds where students like to run and chase each other.

Children’s improper behavior and schools’ ineffective management of facilities and equipment are main reasons for students’ injuries, Minister Cheng said. He expressed hope that the form will help the public gain awareness about school safety, and called on schools to pay more attention to facilities in dilapidated conditions, such as stair railings that are often neglected and old exercise equipment.

In addition to ensuring the safety of facilities and equipment, Cheng said parents and schools must also help students learn proper behavior to avoid getting into accidents.