In Pictures: New School Term Under Quake Shadow

By Luo Jian
Published: 2008-09-01

Ten-year-old Luo Gang having revision prior to the new school term.

A new school term begins every September 1. After a hasty final exam and an uneasy two-month summer holiday threathened by frequent aftershocks, 10-year-old Luo Gang hoped everything would return to the way it used to be in the new semester.

Luo was a pupil in Guangping Center Primary School of Ningqiang county, Shaanxi province. Since the May 12 earthquake, which struck most parts of Sichuan and southern Shaanxi and Gansu provinces, his school life had been completely changed. 

Pupils from other village-level schools that were damaged in the quake were tranferred to Lou's school, while its existing population had to make room for the newcomers by moving into temporary classrooms made of portable planks. Boarding pupils were asked to live at home—some of them had to spend hours to get to school. 

Two strong aftershocks in late July and early August had caused more buildings in Niangqiang to collapse or become too dangerous to live in. At many schools, ruins and debris were still being cleared up. Only a few sites had laid foundations for new school buildings.

As a result, small cabins built for temporary use after the earthquake would go on playing a leading role in the new semester. Some schools had also rented rooms from nearby buildings as classrooms. 

Pupils of Dazhuba Village Primary School in Ninqiang county are making final preparation for the start of a new school term.

The Guangpingzhen Jinshanshi Village Center Primary School, Ningqiang county, Shaanxi province, has been reduced to a temporary structure.   

A teacher of Jinshanshi Village school is preparing teaching material for the upcoming new semester in his quake victims' tent.

Children at the Shaba Village Resettlement Camp, which houses some 400 quake victims, are finishing up their homework in time for the school reopening.