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Video: Crossover: Number of rural schools drop in past decade

11-27-2012 20:55 BJT

At the recently closed 18th CPC National Congress, the need to improve education quality and promote equality, especially in the relatively poor western areas was emphasized. In areas like northwest China’s Gansu province, education resources are very limited. But in recent years, many local schools have been integrated to pool together what limited resources they have. Full Story>>

The Ministry of Education has suspended a 12-year-old policy that encouraged closures and mergers of rural schools. This is according to a senior official at the Ministry. This policy was originally implemented to cope with the decreasing school enrolment rate in rural regions. For more on that, we are joined by Li Kefu at the studio.

Q1: So what state did this education policy leave rural education in?

A: According to a recently released report by an education NGO, the 21st Century Education Research Institute, the number of primary and secondary schools in China’s rural areas dropped by 50 percent from 2000 to 2010. In concrete terms this means 63 rural primary schools and three middle schools close every day. As education resources centralized in bigger towns, students were forced to leave their homes and travel long-distances to attend schools. The Ministry of Education insists that the policy as a whole has produced positive effects: It improved the quality of education, allocation of teachers and efficiency of education. But the Ministry also acknowledged the policy has caused the excessive reduction of rural schools.

Q2: What are the reasons behind so many rural primary schools closing and merging?

A: According to the report released by the 21st Century Education Research Institute, the main reason for issuing this policy 12 years ago is the decreasing school enrolment rate in rural regions. This is caused both by the decreasing birth rate in rural China, and the wave of rural residents migrating to cities.

Now the policy is under adjustment. In September, the General Office of the State Council announced a new policy on the distribution of rural schools. The Ministry of Education also says that "We should balance the education resource quality and children’s needs for nearby schools."

Editor:James |Source:

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