SHANGHAI: Shanghai will this year become the first Chinese city to provide free education to all school-age children of migrant workers, through more government investment in facilities and teachers.
At present, 97.3 percent of the 400,000 children of migrant workers have enrolled in elementary and middle schools in Shanghai, national newspaper People's Daily reported Wednesday.
These schools are either public schools or private ones which receive government financial support.
"The city government will help renovate and improve the education quality in 22 private schools this year so the remaining 2.7 percent of the children, or 10,000 non-local students, can enjoy free education policy," the newspaper quoted Yin Houqing, deputy head of the Shanghai Education Commission, as saying.
The 22 schools enrolling migrant children are either unlicensed or unqualified to guarantee security and food safety to the students, Yin said.
They will be taken over by qualified public or private schools before May, according to the commission.
Providing fair and equal education to children of migrant workers is a big challenge in Chinese cities as many schools only enroll students of local residence, leaving little chance for children of migrant workers to enjoy free and quality education.
Yin said Shanghai, China's financial center, put 3.69 billion yuan ($543 million) into helping local schools enroll more school-age migrant children in 2009.