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Think getting up for your 9am lecture is hard? This is how kids in west China get to school

27th May 2016

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If you think getting into uni on the bus for 9am is hard, we'd like to serve you a harsh dose of reality: these kids in China literally have to climb a mountain to get to school.

Children living in a village in China’s mountainous west have to climb an 800m-high bamboo ladder secured to a sheer cliff face in order to reach the classroom. 

Yes, really. Imagine that, followed by double maths. It's fair to say we've had better mornings. 

Also, imagine being told off for being late after that. Eesh.

There's a rumour circulating that the mountain might be about to get a set of steel stairs to improve safety. So that's ok, then. 

children wearing their school backpacks climb on a cliff using a bamboo ladder on their way home from school (AP)
This kid does not look happy. (AP)

The photos were taken in Sichuan province’s Zhaojue county.

The ladder is the only access to the village of Atuleer, to which the children return every two weeks from the school at which they board.

They don't have to do it every morning then, which is a relief. Sort of. 

The images are causing concern over the development differences between China’s prosperous, modern east and parts of the remote inland west that largely remains mired in poverty.

The 72 families who live there are members of the Yi minority group, and subsist mainly by farming potatoes, walnuts and chilli peppers.

a child wearing her school backpack takes a rest on a cliff (AP)
According to the Liangshan prefectural government, which oversees Zhaojue county, a set of stairs will be built as a stop-gap measure while officials consider a longer-term solution.

Zhaojue county Communist Party secretary-general Jikejingsong said: “The most important issue at hand is to solve the transport issue. That will allow us to make larger-scale plans about opening up the economy and looking for opportunities in tourism.” 

If we're being honest we wouldn't flag tourism as your main concern when you've got kids climbing a mountain to get to school, Jikejingsong. 

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