China has launched a three-year program that aims to examine every school building in China for safety flaws, with priority given to reinforcing those in earthquake-prone areas.
"We must make sure all primary and middle school buildings are safe and strong, and will be able to pass the test of history," State Council Liu Yandong told a national tele-conference on Friday.
Liu, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said all local governments should be responsible for building safer schools, or fixing those that were already standing, so that the buildings could stand up to problems such as natural disasters.
Liu asked education regulators and governmental supervisors to keep detailed safety records on each school building nationwide, which would be included in an electronic database of all primary and middle schools.
The Sichuan government announced on Thursday that 5,335 students had been confirmed killed or missing after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit the populous southwestern province on May 12 last year.
Laws passed shortly thereafter meant that public buildings such as schools and hospitals were required to withstand earthquakes of at least 8.0 magnitude. The revised laws took effect on May 1.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the rebuilding of schools and houses in the earthquake-hit Sichuan province will finish one year ahead of schedule.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said reconstruction of essential infrastructure would be complete by September 2010.
Mu Hong, vice-director of the NDRC, said the task of reconstruction began in September last year. Mu said the central government had invested 360 billion yuan in reconstruction as of April, one-third of the planned investment.
Tang Kai, director of the urban planning department of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said rural residents in Sichuan's quake zone would be returned to permanent housing by winter.