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Thousands of Quake-hit Students Resume Classes Elsewhere

A group of 809 primary school pupils from southwest China's quake-hit Sichuan Province arrived in east Shandong Province on a special train on Thursday to attend classes there.

The pupils, all from Leigu Township, Beichuan County, a badly-hit area in Sichuan, will study for about two months in schools in Shandong's capital city of Jinan.

They were arranged to study in four schools in Jinan and enjoy free schooling, food and accommodation. Each pupil would be given a monthly subsidy of 30 yuan (US$4.2).

"To let them come to Jinan is not only for study, but also for 'recovery from the quake trauma,'" said Zou Shiping, Jinan's vice mayor.

In Mingzhu Primary School in Jinan, a wall of pictures became a special way for the local pupils to welcome their friends from the quake zone. Dormitories were also specially decorated for them.

Yang Xiaolin, a pupil from Sichuan, said her home in a mountainous area was flattened in the May 12 earthquake. The crops of her family were also destroyed.

"This was a meal that I have had with most easement," she said after her first breakfast in the new place.

Huang Zujie, Jinan Education Bureau's deputy director, "We will let the children feel just as they are in their hometown."

Huang said the schools invited chefs of Sichuan cuisine to let the pupils taste their familiar hometown meals.

A second batch of about 500 middle school students from Sichuan will soon come to Jinan for classes.

On May 26, the Ministry of Education urged other provinces to arrange transitory classes for students in the quake-hit areas and to provide support in employment and vocational education.

Many provinces, such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian and Shanxi, had also accepted thousands of pupils from the quake zone.

The easte Jiangsu Province has accepted more than 3,000 students from Sichuan, and also carried out psychological aid for them, according to the ministry.

In addition to free schooling, Zhejiang Province, also in the east, offered subsidies totaling 5,000 yuan a year for each Sichuan student who came to study in vocational schools in the province.

In Sichuan, colleges have received nearly 30,000 students from quake-hit areas where they are attended by teachers and volunteers.

The death toll in the major earthquake reached 69,127 as of Thursday noon, the State Council Information Office said.

(Xinhua News Agency June 6, 2008)

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