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Migrant Children Enjoying School, Making Friends in Beijing

A survey by the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences shows that over 70 percent of the children of the migrant workers in Beijing are studying at government funded schools.

While schooling standards remain worse for such children in many other cities of China, Beijing has greatly improved their education opportunities in recent years.

The survey showed 72.2 percent of the migrant children were studying at government funded schools, 15.5 percent at schools specially established for children of migrant workers and 6 percent at private schools.

Of the migrant children, 89.9 percent liked their schools, and only 2.3 percent did not like their schools.

Most of the migrant children said schools in Beijing, including migrant children's school which are relatively simple and crude, were better than those in their hometowns in terms of learning environment, teaching quality and the relationship between teachers and students.

Most migrant children had adapted well to life in Beijing, with85.8 percent saying they had made good friends and only 14.2 percent said they had no good friends in the capital.

Of migrant students studying at government funded schools, 77.1 percent said their best friends were Beijing children, while only 48.9 percent of those at migrant children's schools had Beijing friends.

Most children of migrant families had few opportunities for the same education as urban children, as government funded schools require students to be registered in the place of residence.

In recent years, great efforts have been made by Chinese governments at all levels to improve education for children of migrant workers. Beijing offers more opportunities than most Chinese cities.

Beijing Municipal Education Commission requires the children of migrant families an extra 200 yuan (US$24.1) for primary school and 500 yuan (US$60.2) for junior middle school each term at government funded schools in Beijing.

"The survey result is a proof of the improvement in education standards of migrant kids in Beijing," said Han Jialing, a research fellow with the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences.

Beijing Municipal Statistics Bureau figures show that by the end of last year, 4.1 million migrant people were living in Beijing, including 294,840 children below the age of 15, amounting to 7.2 percent of the total migrant population in the city.
(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2004)

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