OPINIONS Gradual breakthrough in education reform with the process of urbanization

OPINIONS

Gradual breakthrough in education reform with the process of urbanization

CGTN

02:30, September 03, 2018

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(Photo: CGTN)

Editor’s note: 2018 marks 40 years of China’s reform and opening-up, during which the country has witnessed a giant leap in education. Wang Yan, a senior specialist at the National Institute of Educational Sciences, assesses the phenomenal progress in a five-part series. Below is the second part.

Economic growth in China is accompanied by the process of urbanization when the layout, size, and structure of cities, towns, and rural communities begin to change.

In this process, large numbers of schools are established, merged and closed. As a result, the layout and structure of schools changes gradually, as well as the approaches and strategies for educational governance.

Over the past four decades, the mega-cities, big cities, and medium-cities, have all increased with the expanding boundaries of the cities, and many original suburban areas and rural areas are merged into cities.

Migrant workers flood into the cities, and the rural population, as well as school children in rural areas, has declined. This has changed the layout of schools in rural and urban areas.

Typically, the number of schools in urban areas has increased substantially. For example, Zhengzhou the capital city of Henan province with 10 million residents, has witnessed the establishment of 30 new schools each year.

Meanwhile, rural-urban migration has left fewer students and smaller schools in rural areas behind, making survival for some of those schools hard.

For example, a township high school may have only 200 teachers and students, while a village-based school may have only one principal, one teacher, and several students. Some rural schools even have to be closed.

All these factors have to be taken into account when local governments make plans for educational reform and school development. 

The percentage of migrant children of the total enrollment has kept on rising. In some cities, the number of migrant children account for 50 percent of a school's annual intake.

Typically, the number of schools in urban areas has increased substantially. For example, Zhengzhou the capital city of Henan province with 10 million residents, has witnessed the establishment of 30 new schools each year.

Meanwhile, rural-urban migration has left fewer students and smaller schools in rural areas behind, making survival for some of those schools hard.

For example, a township high school may have only 200 teachers and students, while a village-based school may have only one principal, one teacher, and several students. Some rural schools even have to be closed.

All these factors have to be taken into account when local governments make plans for educational reform and school development. 

The percentage of migrant children of the total enrollment has kept on rising. In some cities, the number of migrant children account for 50 percent of a school's annual intake.

In some cities, education departments have also established partnerships with other departments to resolve various resources issues.

For example, in Wuhan, the government once signed a contract with a public bus company to arrange transportation for students from areas with fewer schools to areas with more schools.

These reforms have resolved some of the problems of education development in the process of urbanization. However, the concentration of quality education resources in mega-cities and average cities is still making more people leave the rural areas.

In order to make a more balanced development in education, the government has established more schools in small cities, townships, and rural communities, so that students there can enjoy the same educational opportunities.

Yet the whole issue is linked with the overall improvement of infrastructure and the environment in rural areas. Balanced rural and urban developments will inevitably be achieved through a holistic scheme with a perspective of sustainable development.


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