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Educating migrants' children

China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-16 09:11

More funds and resources should be allocated to schools in rural areas and hukou (house registration) norms should be relaxed in cities to help "left-behind children" get proper education, says an article in Guangzhou Daily. Excerpts:

By the end of 2010, migrant workers had left behind 96.83 million children in villages, according to a report issued by the All-China Women's Federation on May 9. Of them, about 20.57 million lived alone.

This situation is at odds with our ancestors' custom that expostulates people avoid leaving home while their parents are alive. The "empty-nest" phenomenon in the countryside is alarming because a huge number of children cannot get proper parental care and good education, essential for the healthy development of children.

Children shouldn't become the victims of the hukou system and the unbalanced social and economic development between urban and rural areas. Local governments are interested in only the dividend created by left-behind children's parents. They are not prepared to accept entire families of migrant workers into cities.

The problem, however, cannot be solved by just abolishing the hukou system, because many migrant workers' incomes are not enough to cover their children's education and other expenses in cities. Therefore, a more balanced approach is needed to address the problem. To begin with, new boarding schools should be built (and old ones improved) in the countryside while the hukou system is phased out gradually.

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