Thousands of schools collapsed in the earthquake, trapping students under the debris. Among the victims, 5,335 students died or are missing, said Tu Wentao, head of Sichuan’s education department, according to Xinhua. More than 500 were permanently disabled.
The disaster served as a rallying point for the Chinese government to reach out to the outside world and to instill patriotism and humanitarianism among the Chinese. In a newfound transparency and public awareness, local media ran 24-hour coverage of the quake rescue efforts, and foreign media were given open access to the quake-affected areas.
However, since then, the government has come under some criticism for its handling of the post-quake period — notably the quality of school construction in the affected area and the number of children who perished in the temblor.
From Al Jazeera:
Sexy Beijing posted a video of musician Abigail Washburn making music with children survivors of the quake, “using folk songs sung by the children as well as sounds of their parents rebuilding their houses with bricks and mortar.” For more on this project see the Afterquake website.