Several ministry-level departments, including education, emergency management and the State Medical Insurance Administration, have responded recently to issues of public concern.
Institutions must ensure teacher quality
The Ministry of Education urged institutions that provide off-campus academic training for middle and primary school students to ensure that their teachers have corresponding qualifications.
Zhu Zhiwen, vice-minister of education, said in a meeting held on Oct 26 that such institutions must step up management of their teachers.
Schools must also take measures to ensure teachers do not take part-time jobs at off-campus training institutions or host tutoring classes on their own.
A long-term oversight mechanism must be established to strengthen routine supervision of off-campus institutions. Local authorities are also urged to step up supervision and assessment.
The country bolstered the oversight of institutions that provide off-campus academic training for students in August to reduce the burden for middle and primary school students and standardize the development of such institutions.
More aid given to landslide-hit area
Authorities have bolstered disaster relief efforts to the landslide-hit Tibet autonomous region as well as Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.
The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Emergency Management said in a statement on Oct 24 that a relief fund of 135 million yuan ($19.5 million) has been allocated to landslide-hit areas together with 3,000 tents, 30,000 cotton-padded coats and quilts, and 15,000 folding beds.
The supplies will be used to support relief work, including relocating affected residents, offering the daily necessities and rebuilding damaged houses, the statement said.
China activated a level-IV emergency response, the lowest level, after a landslide struck the border area of Sichuan and Tibet on Oct 11.
The landslide resulted in the formation of a barrier lake near a section of the Jinsha River. More than 21,000 people had been relocated as of Oct 12, with no reports of any casualties.
Rural communities to get better healthcare
Authorities unveiled a three-year plan on Oct 20 to boost health insurance for impoverished residents in rural areas.
The 2018-2020 plan, jointly issued by the State Medical Insurance Administration and two other departments, aims to ensure poverty-stricken rural residents benefit more from health insurance.
People living in extremely impoverished areas and those in poverty because of illness will be the major beneficiaries of the plan. It covers basic medical and major disease insurance and medical assistance should cover every rural resident by 2020. Insurance for diseases will cover more of the medical fees of impoverished rural residents by 2020.
The disparity in medical insurance between urban and rural areas will also be narrowed, and people in extreme poverty will receive full reimbursement for their medical insurance costs.
The move is part of China’s efforts to lift 30 million people out of poverty by 2020.
New schools to be given air-quality tests
A nationwide inspection of indoor air quality in newly built schools and student dormitories was launched after students suffered dizziness and nosebleeds due to excessive levels of formaldehyde in some areas.
The State Council’s education supervision committee released a statement on Oct 25, urging local authorities to conduct a thorough inspection of indoor air quality in new schools, including dormitories and equipment that were put into use this year.
Schools where students suffer from dizziness and nosebleeds should hire recognized third-party institutions for air quality tests and publicize the results, it added.
Parents and the public should be informed of the inspection results via school bulletin boards or online platforms, the statement said.
The committee also urged schools with unacceptable indoor air quality to rectify the issue in a timely fashion, adding that school buildings cannot be put into use until air quality reaches national standards.