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Time is called on Shanghai's migrant schools
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Migrant schools are set to disappear in Shanghai by 2010, the Shanghai Education Commission announced yesterday.

The 240-plus existing migrant schools in the city will either be turned into private schools managed and funded by the city government or will close, with the pupils transferred to local public schools.

"We appreciate migrant schools for their historic contribution to the city's education system. But now it's time to take measures," said Yin Houqing, the vice commission director.

With the country's market economy development, tens of thousands of rural people left their farmlands for construction projects in the city during the 1990s.

By last September, the city was home to 379,980 migrant children aged between six and 15. However, urban education resources in the 1990s could not accommodate such large numbers of students and this led to the formation of hundreds of independent migrant schools.

Most were run by non-Shanghai natives or business people at the lowest possible cost. They were unlicensed.

"Without a legal identity and government funding, tight budgets forced many of the migrant schools to have poor education facilities, unsatisfactory sanitary conditions and a lack of good teachers," Yin said.

From 2004, the city government allocated 30 million yuan (US$4.14 million) every year to improve migrant schools.

At present, 57 percent of the migrant children are studying in public schools.

The commission said it would build more public schools in the hope of raising the percentage to 70 percent by 2010. They are also funding private schools so they can offer equal opportunities to the other 30 percent.

(Shanghai Daily January 22, 2008)


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