Children of migrant workers in Beijing and Shanghai cities and Guangdong Province will be able to enter senior high schools and sit college entrance exams locally, according to plans published by the authorities on Sunday.
They are the latest in a total of 13 provinces and municipalities to formulate plans to ensure that rural children who have followed their parents to cities can enjoy the same rights as their urban peers in education.
Beijing will allow migrant workers' children to attend local vocational schools in 2013 and allow them to be matriculated by universities after graduating from the vocational programs in 2014.
Shanghai took a step further, saying it will allow migrant children in the city to enter local senior high schools, vocational schools and sit college entrance exams locally starting in 2014.
Guangdong has asked its cities to start recruiting migrant workers' children in local senior high schools in 2013. The province will allow these children to sit college entrance exams and compete with local residents on an equal footing in college entrance starting in 2016.
Migrant workers, whose children could be benefited by the new plans of the three regions, must have residential permits, stable jobs and incomes, and meet other local requirements, according to the plans.
China's hukou, or household registration system, used to confine children to attending schools in their home provinces. A 2003 regulation amended this by allowing migrant workers' children to receive the nine-year compulsory education in cities where their parents work.
But the country has in recent years faced mounting protests from its migrant workers, whose children under current policies had to either return to the countryside for further schooling or risk dropping out of school if they chose to stay with their parents in cities where the parents work.