Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

All migrant workers' kids should go to school

By Xiong Bingqi (China Daily) Updated: 2015-05-27 07:33

Two factors are responsible for this situation. First, some local governments have introduced difficult enrollment requirements to control the inflow of migrant workers. Some local governments have shut down schools for migrant workers' children without taking steps to provide compulsory education to them, while some schools don't admit migrant workers' children forcing them go back to their hometowns to receive education.

Local governments in places with large inflows of migrant workers are responsible for providing their children proper education. And there is no reason for them to deny equal education rights to such children on the pretext of controlling urban populations. In this regard, the National People's Congress, the top legislature, should strengthen supervision to ensure the Compulsory Education Law is fully implemented.

Second, the security mechanism for compulsory education expenditure is unreasonable, because it is borne mainly by county-level financial departments in rural areas and district-level financial departments in urban areas. The problem is that the greater the flow of migrant workers in a district, the higher the compulsory education expenditure will be for the district government, which can be a heavy burden.

In 2014, the State provided billions of yuan to local governments in areas with high inflows of migrant workers. But that comprised just a small part of the expenditure on compulsory education of migrant workers' children, for in some big cities such expenditures could be up to 6 billion yuan a year compared with the less than 200 million yuan they get.

Therefore, provincial-level instead of county-and district-level governments should pay the compulsory education expenditure, and the central fiscal transfer should be increased.

Under such circumstances, students' education expenditure could migrate with the students to the inflow areas, which will reduce inflow areas' extra fiscal burden.

To fully safeguard the education rights of migrant workers' children, the local governments should lift all restrictions and allow all school-age migrant workers' children to get compulsory education.

The author is vice-president of the 21st Century Education Research Institute.

(China Daily 05/27/2015 page9)

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