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NPC deputy proposes incorporating safety education into China’s nine-year compulsory education curriculum

2021/3/5 9:30:11   source:Global Times

A Chinese lawmaker suggested including safety education against sexual assault, trafficking, domestic violence, drowning, etc. into China’s nine-year compulsory education curriculum, to protect juveniles.

The proposal was brought by Zhang Baoyan, the founder of a website which helps kidnapped children return to their homes based in Northeast China’s Jilin Province and also a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC).

Zhang advocated that based on extensive reference to the practice of local education departments and public welfare organizations, experts should be organized to study and issue authoritative textbooks on children's safety precaution as soon as possible, to comprehensively carry out safety precaution education among teenagers.

Most of the primary and secondary school students have little safety awareness, poor self-defense ability, lack of actual safety skills, coupled with a lack of psychological development, so teens are more prone to bad behavior, and have high attention span when it comes to their dangerous behavior, Zhang told the Global Times.

Many students panic when confronting accidents. They do not know how to take relevant measures to protect themselves and escape, resulting in very painful tragic consequences.

Learning from her experience of finding kidnapped children, Zhang found many trafficked children left home on their own at first, as they suffered from domestic violence.

If children have access to anti-domestic violence education in class, many of them will know how to deal with such affairs rationally, and avoid becoming stuck in unsafe situations, Zhang noted.

She stressed that anti-sexual assault education is not only for protecting girls but also essential to protect boys. There should also be more attention paid to safety education toward rural children.

In 2020, 332 cases of sexual assault against children under 18 years of age were publicly reported by the media, with up to 845 victims, according to the 2020 Child Sexual Abuse Case Statistics and Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Education Survey Report. This means that there were almost 2.3 children being sexually assaulted every day.

The Compulsory Education Law amended in 2006 clearly stipulates that “safety education should be carried out for students,” providing a legal basis and guarantee for primary and secondary schools to provide safety education.

Since 1996, the Monday of the last week of March every year has been designated as the National Safety Education Day for Primary and Secondary School Students. Exercises against traffic, drowning, stampedes, fires, public health emergencies, and floods are carried out in schools for the past 20 years.

However, Zhang believes schools do not pay enough attention to safety education, influenced by the traditional exam-oriented education.

She found that schools’ evaluation standards for teachers are mainly based on students' test scores, which make teachers have to spend most of their energy on teaching, and few devote their time to educating students about safety, and some school teachers have not participated in systematic safety education training.

Zhang noted such safety education was also useful for parents. Many parents aren’t sufficiently vigilant in watching out for potential harm to their children.

She helped a couple whose seven-year-old daughter was kidnapped by their workmate. That workmate liked the girl very much and always held her in arms. The parent had been warned that it was unusual, but they ignored it. Luckily, the kidnapped girl has since been rescued by police.

Zhang suggested that for criminal cases of abduction, sexual assault, and domestic violence, social services should be introduced to provide necessary psychological treatment in addition to legal aid for students who have been violated. 

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