Fair education access for migrants ordered

Updated: 2011-09-17 08:04

By Chen Jia (China Daily)

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Fair education access for migrants ordered

Students at a primary school in Beijing's Haidian district attend the opening ceremony for a new semester on Sept 1. More than 780 migrant students were transferred to the school for the semester as it is nearer to their homes than their previous schools. [Photo/ China Daily]

BEIJING - Migrant workers' children should not be excluded from urban education programs because their schools were closed, the Ministry of Education said after the closure of several migrant schools in Beijing.

In a notice posted on its website on Thursday, the ministry said the children of migrant workers in cities must have the same access to the nine-year compulsory education program as other urban residents.

The ministry called on the governments of large cities to increase education spending for these children to prevent higher dropout rates.

And it said it will take account of local officials' compliance with the notice in their performance assessments this year.

The notice was posted shortly after Beijing closed several schools serving migrant workers' children just before the beginning of the fall semester on Sept 1. At least 24 of these schools were shut down over the summer because they failed to meet safety and hygiene standards.

More than 14,000 children, mostly residents of Beijing's suburbs, were affected by the closures, according to the Beijing municipal education commission.

Despite plans to close 114 migrant children's schools, affecting 40,000 students, Beijing education authorities have said no child will be denied an education.

"We won't lose any student during the integration of urban and rural areas, and we'll ensure all migrant students enjoy their rights to compulsory education," Luo Jie, deputy director of the education commission, was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

More than 70 percent of Beijing's 400,000-plus migrant children attend government-funded schools, Luo said. The number is higher nationally, with 79.2 percent of China's 11.67 million urban migrant children going to State-subsidized schools.

The child of Cheng Zhaoju, a cleaner who moved to Beijing from Henan province several years ago, was turned away from a local public school because Cheng lacks some certificates the education authority required for registration.

"Neither my husband nor I can provide employment certificates because we don't work for a company or government agency in Beijing," she said.

And their landlord refused to give them the certificate of residence the school required.

"The Beijing government has made many migrant families like Cheng's plan to return to their hometowns for their children's education," said Zhang Zhiqiang, founder of an aid group for migrant workers, on Friday.

Xinhua contributedto this story.