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China Education Policy is Failing the Poor and Rural

September 7, 2014
Plain English Version

China ed policyAfter nine years of compulsory education, Chinese students take tests to get into the best colleges.  It is not easy. The test scores decide who gets in. It is not “who you know.”

The number of youngsters graduating from college has vastly increased over the last decade.

That is the good news.

The Chinese system favors the wealthy over the poor. It favors city kids over kids from rural areas. The rich youngsters from the big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai get a much better education.  They enter elite elementary schools. Wealthy parents have the best tutors for their children. The classrooms are well equipped. The teachers are better trained.

The poor are left out of the system in other ways.

Many parents leave their children behind in their hometown when they seek better jobs. The schools the children go to are not as good as city schools

When parents move their children with them these youngsters are not considered residents of the new community. This means they cannot go to local schools. They end up going to private schools.

Private schools charge tuition. The education they offer is sub-standard. Many migrants send their children back home for school.

The best colleges offer more places to students from big cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai.

China is trying to change some of the rules.

They are making students go to the elementary schools in their home districts. Some of the districts are very poor, but have very good schools. Again, rich parents are buying homes in the best school districts. Many Chinese parents will do anything to give their children an advantage.

For centuries education was seen as the source of mobility in China. Now it is becoming a way for the wealthy to succeed at the expense of the poor.

Source: The New York Times September 4, 2014

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