Hannum_structure inequality,rural poverty and education opportunities

Hannum_structure inequality,rural poverty and education opportunities

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Rural Poverty and Education in China Emily Hannum and Jennifer Adams Draft: 7/25/2006 Abstract As China’s economy has marketized, having an education has become increasingly important for guaranteeing economic security, and those who lack access to schooling are at high risk for a life of poverty. Access to education has expanded rapidly in recent years, but there remain barriers to implementation of nine years of compulsory education in poor rural areas. In this chapter, we first consider policies that have shaped access to schooling in the reform era. We then present a case study of barriers to educational success for children in rural Gansu Province, in which we highlight factors that rural residents themselves cite as barriers to educational success, and analyze attributes of children that predict enrollment. Finally, we discuss the additional complexities surrounding the education of three groups of rural children: minorities, girls, and children who follow their parents into the cities in search of economic advancement. Policies dating from the mid-1980s that increased the costs born by individuals for social services have created significant barriers to compulsory education in poor regions. Rural residents cite costs as a barrier, and analyses show that children from 1
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poorer families and those in villages where average expenditures for education are higher are significantly less likely to remain enrolled in school. Families may simply lack access to cash or credit to pay fees; they may be pushed into poverty by costs of social services; and they may become conservative about investing in marginal students in a context where future expenses for education and health care for all family members must be anticipated. Beyond costs, rural residents cite children’s performance in school and attitude toward school as significant problems, and these factors matter for continued enrollment in multivariate analyses that control for wealth and costs. As has been found in research elsewhere, identifying attributes of teachers that consistently keep students performing well and engaged is a difficult task, as simple indicators of teacher quality do not go far in explaining these outcomes. It is clear, however, that when poor rural children do enter school, they face weak infrastructures and less-qualified teachers than do their counterparts in wealthier areas. They may also face a curriculum that is foreign to their lived experiences, and offered in an unfamiliar dialect. Many quickly surpass their parents’ level of schooling, and thus lack experienced guidance when they face academic difficulty or become discouraged. Many also witness struggles and sacrifices made by parents in support of their education, including labor migration, and these experiences may detract from children’s desire to continue.
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