6_Education - Social Issues in Contemporary China Education...

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Unformatted text preview: Social Issues in Contemporary China Education Importance of Education Now a person’s access to education matters a lot for her/his lifetime economic security: better job, higher pay – Returns to education in urban China have been rising since the onset of the market reform period in the late 1970s; returns nearly tripled during the period 1992 to 2003, rising from 4.0 to 11.4 percent (Zhao and Zhou 2006; Zhang and Zhao 2006). – In rural areas, by the year 2000, an additional year of education increased wages by 6.4 percent among those engaged in wage employment, and education is becoming the dominant factor that determines whether rural laborers are successful in finding offfarm jobs (de Brauw et al. 2002; de Brauw and Rozelle 2006; Zhao 1997). – For parents and children alike, education is considered as the only way for the children to leave village Reform in Education Before Market transition, China’s education system was orientated around the political goal of eliminating class differences in society With economic reform, the focus shifted to economic modernization, and this new orientation was clearly reflected in educational reforms aimed at efficiently producing an appropriately skilled labor force. Reform in Education Programs varying in length, quality, curriculum, and financial base Education moved away from a focus on egalitarianism and class struggle, instead emphasizing quality, competition, individual talents and the mastery of concepts and skills important for science and technology. Most recently, attention has turned to how to stimulate critical thinking and creativity perceived necessary for the new economy. Reform in Education: Finance Decentralization of the administrative and finance of primary, secondary and tertiary education, and the privatization of costs – The central government runs and finances certain institutions of higher education; more typically, provincial, county, township and village governments respectively take responsibility for schools at the tertiary, upper secondary, lower secondary, and primary levels. – This finance structure has increased the regional disparities in funding for schools, and has increased family educational expenditures needed even for compulsory education. – Poor families and schools in poor communities stressed by these changes Reform in Education: Finance Government concerns about access and equity also evident: – Law on Compulsory Education of 1986, Basic Education Project, Develop the West Campaign – New efforts to recentralize finance to the county level, and to eliminate school fees. Educational Trends: 1949-1980s Educational opportunities have increased dramatically in the years since the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949. – Estimates based on the China Health and Nutrition Survey (Figure 1) show that mean years of schooling for women rose from about 2 years for women age 15 in 1951 to over 8 years for those age 15 in 1978. – Youth coming of age in the early years of market transition experienced slight drop-offs in years of schooling. Educational Trends: 1949-1980s Source: China Health and Nutrition Survey 1989 and 1997 Educational Trends: From 80s Primary gross enrollment ratios are over 100 throughout the reform period, for girls and for boys. Secondary gross enrollment ratios were around 54 for boys and 37 for girls in 1980, around the time of the start of reforms. Ratios dropped through the mid-1980s, but in the mid-1980s, the downturn ended. By 1997, enrollment ratios were 74 percent for boys and 66 percent for girls. – From 1988 to 1995, primary to secondary transition ratios rose from 62 percent to 88 percent, with girls only about three to four percentage points behind boys. Tertiary gross enrollment ratios have expanded since 1980, from 2.5 percent for boys and 0.8 percent for girls in 1980, to 7.3 percent for boys and 3.9 percent for girls in 1996. – Higher education is expanding, but is also growing more expensive. Source: 2000 Census Micro Sample Definition of Gross Enrollment Rate and Net Enrollment Rate The ratio of all primary school students to all primary school aged children (6-13 year olds) in the population, expressed as a percentage, is the gross enrollment rate. Interpreting gross enrollment is not as easy as interpreting net enrollment. Both high and low gross enrollment rates are undesirable. High gross enrollment levels (over 100 percent) indicate large numbers of over-age children in primary school, indicating poor academic progress and a high level of repetition in the school system. Low gross enrollment rates reflect low net enrollment rates from lack of school attendance either because children have poor access to schools or are kept away by their parents. Net enrollment is defined as the percentage of children of primary school age (6-13 year olds) actually attending primary school. High net enrollment rates are desired, as they are indicative of good access to schooling for children and reasonable progress (that is, children are in the proper class for their age). Access to Primary and Secondary School Favorable trends in enrollment and retention at the stage of compulsory education. In 1990, five-year retention rates for primary school were around 71 percent; they rose to 95 percent by 2000 and 2001, and rose again to 99 percent in 2002 and 2003. The official transition rate from primary to lower secondary was 88 percent in 1995, and had reached 92 percent in 2001 (USAID 2005). Three-year retention rates for middle school ( 初中 ) rose from 83 percent in 1990 to 92 percent in 2003 (Figure 1). Basic Education: Expansion and Diversification It is important to note that while access is improving, students face an increasingly diverse mix of experiences within schools. – Quality differences associated with the new diversity in finance. However, diversity has also emerged in other ways. – At the secondary level, vocationalization is evident in the declining proportion of secondary students in general education, from 97 percent in 1980 to 84 percent in 1997. – The current rounds of curriculum reforms, aimed at making curriculum more locally relevant and stimulating discussion and critical thinking in the classroom, are likely to further diversify the experiences of children in the classroom. – The emergence of private schools as an alternative for the wealthy (and increasingly for the not so wealthy) is also a source of diversification. Urban / Rural Differences Tianjin the 43th High School •National model high school •New campus completed in 2003 •10 major buildings, including classroom buildings, dorm, lab, library, gym with standard swimming pool •standard sports fields •Nearly 100% of students reach college admission score in college entrance exam Classroom in a Poor Village Project Hope Mosque at the Center of an Islamic School in Gansu Public School Scenes in Rural Gansu 25 Higher Education: Expansion and Diversification Same opportunity structure changes in higher education: expanding overall access to higher education – Government policy expanding public universities, and the emerging private tertiary-level institutions Change in the social composition of those who can enjoy higher education – Increasing private costs for higher education, in both public and private sectors – Increasing diversity of educational quality among tertiary level students Overall Educational Trends A general increase in educational opportunities since 1980s All social groups are benefiting from educational expansions, though important social differences in access persist New quality differences in the school system mean that experiences in school and the implications for labor market opportunities are increasingly diverging Continuing finance problems in poor rural areas Rural-Urban Disparities in Basic and Secondary Education: 1990-2004 Some findings from China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) and the 2000 Census Education Policies: The 1985 Decision The 1985 Decision on the Reform of the Education Structure – As part of the public finance reforms – Nine years of compulsory education – The expansion of vocational education – Increasing local financing of education. A Shift of financial responsibility from central to local government was the foundation of the reform – In practice, provincial governments took on the provision of higher education and transferred the responsibility for the financing of compulsory education to lower levels of government. Education Policies: The 1986 Law The congress passed the Law on Compulsory Education – Nine years of education, 6 years of primary and 3 years of lower secondary as compulsory for all children – But the law fell short of guaranteeing the funding for education, and many schools, particularly those in poor rural areas, financed local education by collecting either tuition or miscellaneous fees. – The decentralization created new barriers to access for the poorest children Other Key Policies in the 80s and 90s the Education Law of 1995 affirmed the government’s commitment to equality of educational opportunity regardless of nationality, race, sex, occupation, property conditions or religious belief (Ministry of Education 1995, Article 9). The central government launched a massive education project for children living in poor areas between 1995 and 2000 with a total investment of 1.2 billion dollars, the most intensive allocation of educational funding in the last 50 years (Ross N.D., p. 39). The 1999 Action Plan for Revitalizing Education in the 21st Century confirmed a commitment to implementing compulsory education across the country (Ministry of Education 1999). Educational Policies: New Focus on Rural Issues In 2003, the State Council held working conference to formulate plans for the development of rural education, with a focus on protecting access to and improving the quality of compulsory education in rural areas, such as plans to establish an effective system of sponsorship for poor students receiving compulsory education, including exempting poor students from all miscellaneous fees and textbook charges and offering them lodging allowances by the year 2007 March 2004, approved 2003-2007 Action Plan for Revitalizing Education (New Action Plan) 2005, it was announced that the government would spend 218 billion Yuan to help improve education in rural areas in the subsequent five years: to ensure the wages of rural middle nad elementary school teachers, and by 2007, the government committed to eliminating education tuition and fees and providing free textbooks and subsidies for needy rural students in compulsory education Trends in Rural-Urban Disparities Education of the Adult Population – Upward trend for all subgroups from 1989 to 2004 (lines) – No clear reduction of the years of schooling gap—about 1.7-1.8 years in 2004. – Narrowing overall gender gap Figure 1. Average Years of Schooling by Year, Residence Status, and Sex, China Health and Nutrition Survey 10 9 8 Years 7 6 5 4 Urban-Rural Men Urban Men Rural Men 3 2 1 0 Urban-Rural Women Urban Women Rural Women 1.1 1.5 1.2 1.5 1.2 1.5 1.1 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.7 1.8 1989 1991 1993 1997 2000 2004 Sources: Hannum and Liu and UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2004). Percent Enrolled by Age Group, Residence, Sex, and Minority Status, 2000 7-16 13-18 Urban Rural Urban Rural Total Male 94 90 77 63 Female 94 87 75 59 Han Male Female Minority Male Female Source: 2000 Census 95 94 91 88 78 75 64 60 93 92 82 77 75 74 52 48 Among all Among males Among females Among Han Among Han males Among Han females Among minority Among minority males Among minority females Among north Among northeast Among east Among central south Among southwest Among northwest Source: 2000 Census Indicators of Exclusion, 13-18 Year-Olds, 2000 Percent not enrolled and… Less than primary attainment Less than junior high school attainment Urban Rural Urban 0.25 1.31 3.75 0.26 0.91 3.39 0.24 1.76 4.11 0.24 0.59 3.51 0.25 0.41 3.12 0.23 0.79 3.89 0.44 6.48 7.11 0.47 4.51 7.15 0.41 8.64 7.06 0.21 0.21 0.18 0.25 0.56 0.32 0.41 0.51 0.47 0.31 4.46 3.43 2.58 3.14 2.97 4.18 6.43 4.91 Rural 13.17 10.56 16.06 10.73 8.28 13.46 30.37 26.76 34.31 9.04 16.26 8.31 10.36 26.43 17.27 Findings on the Rural-Urban Gap in Basic Education The level of education in rural and urban areas in increasing rapidly. A large majority of rural and urban compulsory age children are now enrolled Among the children who remain out of access to compulsory education, the vast majority are rural; minority children and children in western regions are disproportionately represented, and girls are slightly represented. Rural access to secondary level schooling has risen, but the rural-urban gap persists There are significant geographic and ethnic disparities in the level of rural access, and in the rural-urban gap – On average, rural urban gap is substantially greater for minorities than for Han, and somewhat greater for girls than for boys, at both the compulsory and secondary ages (this finding is not illustrated in the figures shown above, based on analysis of census data) Focus on Rural Education Problems In poor areas, children tend to start school late and drop out earlier, Why? 1. Obvious reason: poor families lack the financial ability to pay school fees. The poor have little cash income and savings and often lack access to formal credit and social network According to national survey data in 1992, economic difficulties or leaving school to work were reported for more than one-third of boys who were not in school and for almost half of the girls Children whose families are poor and credit constrained are much more likely to drop out of primary school (data from Gansu Province) Lower secondary school fees are much higher than primary school fees. Focus on Rural Education Problems 1. Returning to schooling may be lower for the poor, making education a less attractive investment Schooling in poor areas are more likely to be of lower quality If children cannot pass high school or college entrance examinations, they are very likely to end up being farmers. Students who have lower academic achievements are more likely to drop out 2. Less attractive labor market opportunities in remote areas, because of poor information, high migration costs, or other barriers, making education a less attractive investment Focus on Rural Education Problems 1. Another connection between low enrollment and poverty is the low education level of parents in poor areas Parents’ education positively predicts schooling attainment of children, even after considering for differences in income and wealth – – – Educated parents may value education more, which may reflect in higher educational aspirations for their children Able to provide more effective support, such as helping with school work May have wider social network and perceive better labor market outcomes of education Focus on Rural Education Problems Poverty also affect the ability of children to learn when they do attend school – Poor families may not be able to afford health care, nutritious food, adequate clothing, school supplies, or desks and good lighting at home, all of which support better learning – A World Bank country study published in 2001 cites endemic diseases, stunting, micronutrient deficiencies and chronic worm infections as severe problems for children in poor rural areas – The Gansu survey found that about 20% of children have vision problems, and only under 10% wear glasses – Lower level of parents’ education may also not able to provide the social and cultural capital that facilitate children’s learning at school, which may also influence children’s interaction with teachers at school Discussion Questions To get started: – The great expansion of education in China is mostly achieved before market economy. Do the new educational opportunities available in China justify rising costs and rising inequality? – Considering the increasing return to education, how would the disparities in education, by socioeconomic status, location and ethnicity, affect the next generation? – Also considering the provision of health care discussed in last class, how would it be balanced between transition to market economy and rising inequality? Assignment For next Tuesday: – Finish reading Only Hope – Post your questions on BB by the end of Monday, thinking about your reaction paper topic – Discussion of Only Hope, connecting to class lectures on provision of education and demographic change Reaction paper: – Length: 3 pages, double spaced. The paper should focus on your critique of the book, incorporating other readings and lectures, instead of summary of the book’s content – Due: next Thursday. Please bring a hard copy to class. Remember: you are required to write 4 reaction papers out of the 5 books we are going to read. I highly recommend that you start your papers now. Don’t wait for the next book. A revised reading schedule will be posted on BB http://janmeise.blogspot.com/2006/12/rural-sch http://janmeise.blogspot.com/2006/12/rural-sc Utube of a rural school http://www.tianjindaily.com.cn/edu/content/200 The 43th high school ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/09/2008 for the course ASIA/SSP 198 taught by Professor Zhang during the Spring '08 term at Lehigh University .

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