Premier Wen Jiabao hands a schoolbag to Long Yingjun, a "left-behind child", and wishes him a happy Children's Day at a primary school in Guzhang county, Hunan province. [Photo/Xinhua]
Premier Wen Jiabao urged rural schools to guarantee food safety when he visited some "left-behind" children in the mountainous region of Central China's Hunan province.
Wen made the remark while visiting a primary boarding school in Shuangxi township of Guzhang county, on Friday, to present his best wishes to the children for International Children's Day, which falls on June 1.
He inspected the students' dorms and talked with the teachers during the visit.
Local governments in Hunan are participating in a national program — the "nutritious meal" project — aimed at improving nutrition in rural primary and middle schools.
Through the project, the central government provides the schools with a 3 yuan (47 cents) daily subsidy per student, and the money is used to buy nutritious food, including milk and eggs, for the children.
The subsidies to improve the children's nutrition are also an investment for the future, because children's physical condition and academic development are closely related, Wen said.
There are 355 students in the primary school visited by Wen, and 280 of them are "left-behind" children — children whose parents are away from home most of the year working in coastal cities — said Liang Huicong, the principal of the school.
Most of the left-behind children at the school are being raised by their grandparents, and many of them are withdrawn, lonely and miss their parents, Liang said.
Some of the students said that they could not help crying when talking with their parents on the phone.
The teachers at the school are trying to help them become more sociable, and have had some success with many of the children, the principal said.
Wen said that migrant workers have made great contributions to boosting economic growth, and the left-behind children will be well taken care of in their parents' absence.
Given that some rural schools have been merged and many children have a long walk to school, Wen said that local authorities should establish new or reopen some old ones so that students won't waste so much time on getting to school and back.
Local authorities should take students' safety into consideration when building new schools, Wen added.