BEIJING, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- The deadly 8.0-magnitude earthquake that jolted southwestern China's Sichuan province in May damaged close to 14,000 schools in 159 counties in the province, a senior official said on Thursday.
Lu Yongxiang, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, revealed the numbers during a briefing to the law-making body on the enforcement of the Law on Compulsory Education.
The 8.0-magnitude quake centered in Sichuan's Wenchuan County left more than 69,000 people dead, 374,000 injured, 18,000 missing and millions homeless.
He did not disclose the casualties of students in the earthquake.
Many of the school buildings in the quake-affected areas needed to be rebuilt, Lu said, adding that many schools in the central and the western part of the country were still in poor condition.
He noted that after the earthquake, many school buildings in neighboring Gansu province were severely damaged, but their rebuilding were not covered in the government's post-quake rebuilding budget.
According to Lu, 2.5 percent of China's primary and middle school buildings were in poor conditions in 2007. More than 90 percent of those "risky" school buildings were located in the country's rural areas.
Twenty percent of the primary school buildings and 11 percent of the middle school buildings were "risky" in southwestern Yunnan province as in 2007, he said, citing figures from the Ministry of Education.
Fire risks, traffic safety and hygiene also posed threats to many primary and middle schools in the country due to lack of safety education, Lu added.
Lu urged authorities to add reinforcement measures to all school buildings in the quake-hit areas and to conduct a comprehensive safety check on all primary and middle schools in the rural areas across the country.
Local governments should renovate all school buildings to meet anti-quake criteria "at a proper time", Lu suggested.
He also urged for central and local governments to grant more funds to help middle and primary schools-- especially those in the central and western rural areas -- renovate their school buildings and raise safety education among students and teachers.
China had already stipulated in July this year that school facilities must observe higher quake-proof standards than common buildings in the same area.