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Education for migrant children: policy implementation in the changing urban education system in China

Hu, Bo (2012) Education for migrant children: policy implementation in the changing urban education system in China. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis aims to examine the extent to which migrant children’s education policy is implemented and identifies the factors that affect the implementation of this policy in the Chinese context. In the last two decades, urban China has witnessed a rapid increase in the number of children of rural-urban migrants. It has become a public concern that migrant children do not have access to education and cannot receive as good an education as do urban children in the cities, even though there are policies formulated by the central government to tackle this issue. The thesis adopts mixed research methods to examine the implementation of migrant children’s education policy. Main sources of the evidence include semi-structured interviews, statistical data, government documents and internal reports by local schools. The thesis divides migrant children’s education policy into three parts: funding and school access policy, equal opportunity policy and school support and social integration policy. It is found that policies for migrant children are selectively or partially implemented. Some policy goals have been achieved, while others have not. Certain groups of migrant children have access to urban public schools and receive high quality education while others do not. A policy analysis shows that migrant children’s education policy is ambiguous in goals and weak in incentives, which grants local governments and schools scope to act with discretion. Non-implementation of sufficient funding and school access policy result from self-interested and habitual decisions of local governments. Implementation of equal opportunity policy is affected by the workings of the exam-oriented education system in China. Social integration policy appears to be well-implemented due to effective school support available to migrant children and good intergroup relationship between migrant and urban children. The findings imply that further policy reform is needed to improve the educational opportunities of migrant children. In particular, special attention should be focused on those policy areas not effectively implemented and more support should be directed to those migrant children who are more disadvantaged.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Bo Hu
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Supervisor: Li, Bingqin

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