Chinese PM visits rural "left behind" children


CHANGSHA, May 30 (Xinhua) -- Premier Wen Jiabao recently visited several children of migrant workers who have moved to urban areas to find work, presenting the children with his well-wishes ahead of International Childrens Day, which falls on June 1.

Wen made the visit during an inspection tour of the Wuling mountainous area in central Chinas Hunan province.

Wen visited a primary school in the area, inspecting the students dorms and talking with teachers, students and their parents.

Wen urged local authorities and schools to guarantee food safety for students, particularly those whose parents are not around to supervise their diets.

Local governments in Hunan are participating in a national program designed to improve nutrition at rural schools, with the central government offering the schools a 3-yuan (about 47 cents) daily subsidy per student to go toward purchasing nutritious food.

Chinas rapid industrialization has resulted in a swelling number of rural "left behind" children, or children whose parents have moved to urban areas to seek work. These children are often placed in the care of relatives or friends. Hunan is home to 140,000 such "left behind" children.

Wen acknowledged the contributions migrant workers have made toward boosting Chinas economic growth, reassuring them that their children will be well taken care of in their absence.

Wen also visited a small village school, where just two teachers instruct a total of 30 students. Wen said that although the school is small, it should be managed as well as any other school, calling for more efforts to improve the quality of schools in remote areas.

Local authorities should take students safety while traveling into consideration when building new schools, Wen said, adding that efforts should be made to establish more schools or reopen previously closed schools in order to reduce commuting times for rural students.

(from xinhua net)

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