The Impact of Changes in Chinese Government Policy on Rural-Urban Migrant Children’s Schooling

  •  Nan Li    
  •  Peggy Placier    


In this policy analysis we will explicate changes in policies affecting the ability of Chinese rural-urban migrantfamilies to gain access to public school education for their children. We argue that these changes are traceable toa contradiction between the transformation of government economic policies in the period since 1978, whichencouraged rural surplus labor force to move to urban areas seeking job opportunities; and the Hukou policy,which continued to label migrants as “urban outsiders” (Cheng shi wai lai ren kou translated into Chinese) andtherefore limited migrant families’ access to resources and services intended for urban residents. Recent changesin policy have attempted to resolve this problem, but our case study findings show that the cultural and socialdivide between rural and urban residents remains a salient factor in urban education.

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