Beijing officials are to allow children whose parents are laborers from outside of the capital to enroll at school.
Without local residential permits, these children would not usually be entitled to study in any school in the city.
"We have come to agree that these children should be allowed to enjoy education in Beijing. A new regulation will be issued soon to take care of the details," Beijing's Vice-Mayor Lin Wenyi said recently.
Related statistics indicate that the amount of children, whose parents are transient laborers without local residential permits, totaled more than 100,000 last year.
Such children have no access to official schools and are therefore unable to take compulsory education.
Most of these children stay in Beijing until reaching school age. Their parents then have to either spend lots of money in order to get them enrolled at official schools, or have the option of putting their children in a school especially for children of transient laborers.
According to Wu Qing, a former professor with the Beijing Foreign Languages University, Beijing has about 200 schools for children of transient laborers, all of them are illegally operated by individuals in shabby areas.
As a municipal people's deputy, Wu has been vigorously promoting a satisfactory solution to this problem.
This is not only because transient laborers have become an important component of local society, and will continue to be so with the city's marching towards an international metropolitan.
But also there have been cases of students being cheated of tuition fees. And schools have also been shut down for not having legal licenses, which has caused students to neglect their studies.
"The parents of the children lead a hard life because of poor education. If we do not help, fate will repeat itself," said Wu.
Although failing to disclose details of the proposed new regulation, Lin promised the new regulation would reflect the kind intentions of Wu, as well as other concerned people's deputies.
Children should take compulsory education in an improved and guaranteed environment, Lin said.
(China Daily January 30, 2002)