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Quake Zone Has Enough Teachers as New Semester Begins

Despite the lives lost and schools ruined, areas hit by the May 12 earthquake in southwest China resumed classes on Monday with enough teachers, the Ministry of Education said on Wednesday.

"The central government has adopted measures to provide teachers for the quake zone," said Song Yonggang, vice-director of the ministry's teacher education bureau.

With the support of central financial allocations, more than 900 people were recruited to work in hard-hit areas in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces, he said.

Sichuan set up a personnel databank, which helped move teachers to the areas where they were needed most.

Provinces and regions outside the disaster zone also helped, he said. For example, Shanghai sent more than 60 teachers on one-year voluntary assignments to the quake-hit areas in Sichuan.

"The problem now lies not in the number of teachers but in their physical and psychological recovery and the provision of professional training," he said.

The ministry plans to give professional training to all teachers in the worst-hit areas by the autumn 2009 semester, according to the official.

The 39 worst-hit districts or counties now have about 105,000 teachers, the ministry's statistics showed.

All 3.4 million students in the Sichuan quake zone, except those in areas hit by Saturday's 6.1-magnitude quake, returned to school on Monday, according to the provincial education authority.

About 33 percent of students returned to their former schools, which were unaffected in the earthquake, while 38 percent returned to buildings that had been reinforced and 28.4 percent were studying in prefabricated classrooms.

The May 12 earthquake killed more than 69,000 people with nearly 18,000 still missing.

(Xinhua News Agency September 4, 2008)

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