World's Most Dangerous School Commute (VIDEO)
For the children of Pili, a village high in the foothills between China, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, getting to school isn't just difficult, according to a report by The Telegraph, it's life-threatening.
"Dangerous! Careful, hold on to the rope…" the man in the video says.
The journey is a total of 120 miles, 50 of which cannot be accessed by vehicles. At one point, the path narrows to just a few inches over a cliff around 1,000 feet above ground. Teachers escort the children on the dangerous trek four time a year, since the youngest students are 6 years old.
"There is only one way to get to the village, and you have to climb up in the mountains," head teacher Su Qin told The Telegraph. "The village is completely cut off."
Toward the end of the video, a report by China's CCTV1, a girl's screaming and crying is audible. The man says in Chinese that it is because she has fallen off the cliff before.
In the winter, the journey is slightly less dangerous, as students can walk across the frozen river instead of climbing the mountains as a detour. Although a road is under construction, it will not be finished until 2013 due to the rough terrain.
A recent report from NBC shows that students from Shanghai scored at the top in all subjects in international exams, with American students ranking 25th out of 34 nations.
"Kids there love learning," NBC's Rehema Ellis said. "And in many ways, their success in school is a direct consequence of a whole culture that really values education."
See data on China's primary school enrollment percentage from The World Bank: