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Migrant Children Say Goodbye to Shabby Schools

On September 1, the first day of the new semester, 160,000 children of migrant workers said goodbye to their shabby old schools and went to all kinds of public and non-government-run schools with 1.7 million other Beijing pupils. The issue of education for children of migrant workers has been solved.


Beijing Fengtai District has closed a total of 57 non-public schools that were built without the approval of the education watchdog. Officials of the district education bureau helped parents to fill in transient papers and introduce their children to 40 other public schools. Special offices were set up to help migrant students deal with the transfer procedure. The education bureau will compensate these public schools, according to the number of migrant students they receive. Until September 1, the number of migrant students who now study at the public schools on a temporary basis reached 26,000 from 12,000. Only several hundred students are now studying in their previous schools which will shut soon.


For example, Li Hanxuan, who once studied in Pengbo Primary School, is now a pupil of Xiaotun Primary School in Fengtai District. Pengbo Primary School had shabby facilities and lacked good quality teaching. The classrooms were dark and most desks and chairs were broken. “The new school is clean. The teachers are very kind to me. I get along well with my fellow classmates,” Li Hanxuan said. Xiaotun Primary School has received most of the migrant children in Fengtai District this semester.


Another 30,000 migrant children went to new schools in Haidian District too. Besides letting migrant children study at public schools on a temporary basis, Haidian District also set up branches of public schools to house migrant children by borrowing public schools’ buildings. These branches will be authorized as non-state-run schools if they prove their quality of teaching and facilities are up to a common standard within three years. For example, Mingyuan Primary School is the first non-state-run school especially built for migrant children, by borrowing Susansi Public Primary School’s buildings. It is now managed by Susansi Public Primary School. Some public schools in Haidian District also set up special classes for migrant children.


More than 160 million yuan (US$19 million) is invested each year by Beijing municipal government to realize the right of migrant children to an education, as stipulated in the Nine-Year Compulsory Education Law. Chaoyang District invested 14 million yuan (US$1.69 million) to help 17,000 migrant children go to new schools in the new semester. Only 43 schools for migrant children have qualified and now have 30,000 students study there.


Supervision systems of a nine-year compulsory duration will start this year. The supervision includes migrant children from six to 16 years old to receive education. At the same time the education fee of migrant children will be decreased from 500 yuan (US$60) to 200 yuan (US$24) every semester in primary schools and from 1,000 yuan (US$120) to 500 yuan in junior high schools.


(China.org.cn by Wu Nanlan, September 9, 2003)


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