If there’s one thing China’s famous for with regards to their schoolchildren and youth, it’s the discipline they strive to instill in these. I’ve seen photos and video of young Chinese athletes practicing to compete in international events and boy, you’d think they were all joining the military or something.
With the sort of activities these young ones engage in, both in school and extracurricular, there’s the impression that they’d be conditioned to do just about anything and anywhere, regardless of weather, by their teachers or instructors. That’s an admirable quality most of the time, but when one’s life is endangered, it’s really not much so.
According to TIME, recently some pictures have been circulating about the internet that depicts some Chinese students, close to half a thousand of them, taking an examination outdoors. From that description you’d think nothing’s amiss, the schoolchildren are in a playground, sitting or kneeling in front of some work desks spaced wide apart from one another to prevent cheating, a temporary seating arrangement common in some Asian schools. You think it doesn’t sound so bad so far? How about the most striking element of those photos, a gray mist that shrouds the students so that those in the distance are obscured from the camera? It’s no mist, though. That unfortunately is smog, the toxic mixture of fog and smoke that’s the bane of some industry-heavy cities.
The students in question attend the Linqi County No. 1 High School, in China’s Henan Province. They were of the 8 th Grade year level, mostly 14 years of age, and on Monday December 19 they took their regular examination as originally scheduled. The problem is that, on the same day, the sudden surge of thing noxious smog across northern China, including the capital Beijing, has finally spurred the Bureau of Education to issue a directive to all schools in the affected areas to suspend classes and other activities for the day, in consideration of their students’ health and safety.
Apparently Feng Jisheng, the principal of Linqi County No. 1 High School didn’t seem to get the memo, and went ahead with the students’ exam. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV eventually reported that he had been suspended from his duties by the education bureau pending an investigation.
Last week China raised smog alerts across 23 cities in northern China because of the debilitating outside conditions in those locales. The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection revealed Monday that at the latest, the smog has since spread to a total of 71 cities in the country. In addition to class suspensions, some flights in China were cancelled, roads with poor visibility were closed, and factories were shut down.
Photo Credit to http://www.stomp.com.sg/