Don’t look down! Images reveal pupils' terrifying journey to school in China, including climbing huge, rickety, unsecured ladders

Students in the village of Zhang Jiawan have to make a demanding daily descent down a series of rickety ladders to reach their school

John Hall
Wednesday 17 April 2013 18:19 BST

The next time the kids complain about going off to school, perhaps they should be reminded that for some children the school run can be a considerably more gruelling ordeal.

New images have emerged from China of the terrifying journey some pupils have to make to spend the day in class.

Click here to view photos of the daunting descent

Students in the village of Zhang Jiawan, in the remote Badagong Mountains in Hunan province,have to make a demanding daily descent down a series of rickety, unsecured ladders to reach their school.

In a deep valley surrounded by mountains on all sides, the school is completely cut off from neighbouring villages and requires pupils to make a death-defying descent in order to receive their education.

Parents have no choice but to allow their children to use the ladders, as the only other way to reach the school is a four-hour cross country detour.

Despite pleas for a road to be built to allow pupils safer access to their school, local officials have reportedly made no effort to improve the journey thanks to an estimated cost of around £10 million.

One local official reportedly said that, at that price, it would be cheaper to buy each of Zhang Jiawan’s 100 residents a helicopter rather than build a road.

Despite the trouble getting to school, the difficult access to Zhang Jiawan has actually benefited villagers. With its arable farmland and numerous sources of water, the village could easily have been a target for invaders over the centuries it has been occupied.

Instead, the incredibly difficult journey has acted as a serious defence, putting off even the most daring of intruders.

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