Chinese internal rural migrant children and their access to compulsory education
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During a period of unprecedented rapid urbanisation and social transformation in China, this thesis considers the children of internal rural migrants and their access to compulsory education in the regions where they settle. There are currently 38 million such children. Institutional and systemic challenges often bar them from receiving an education of adequate quality, equal to that of their peers. The thesis reviews the legal and regulatory framework covering childrens’ right to education at both international and national domestic levels. It then describes the actual experience of internal migrant children attempting to access schools, and analyses the main factors barring them from the education they are entitled to. These barriers are categorised in a ‘4-A’ conceptual framework – Availability, Accessibility, Acceptability, Adaptability. The research draws on a range of secondary data, supplemented by interviews conducted with personnel engaged in education in Beijing. The main findings are that, though the legal framework of rights is generally sufficient, inadequate institutional and normative arrangements and lack of government accountability (at all levels) work together to hinder proper implementation of relevant laws and regulations. The problem is exacerbated by the institutional barrier of hukou-based enrolment and registration, and deepened even further by the current cadre and local governance arrangements, with the information asymmetry they engender. The thesis concludes that, at central, provincial and municipal levels, adequate funding for the education of migrant children must be assured, especially in the dense receiving regions. A new enrolment system is required based on a child’s current place of residence. Finally, a reform of the current civil service and cadre management systems is needed, with a move away from current growth-oriented development strategies that impose policy burdens and subordinate the children’s good to the pursuit of economic targets.
- Theses