China’s Minister of Education announces reforms to ensure migrant children’s access to education

On the 28th of August, the Minister of Education Chen Baosheng reported to the fifth session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee concerning the topics of educational equality and the integration of urban and rural compulsory education.

The minister explained that, in order to promote educational equality, and especially the guarantee of migrant children’s right to receive a compulsory education, a unified national student registration system has been established in primary and secondary schools, and the procedure for transferring schools across provinces can now be conducted online. In 2017 the national number of migrant children in compulsory education was 14.066 million, an increase of 1.19 million compared with the previous year. Furthermore, 80% of those migrant children were enrolled in public schools, and 7.5% of them went to private ones with subsidies from the government.

The minister also reported that, in order to promote the integration of urban and rural compulsory education, the National Council has enhanced the care system for left-behind children. In 2016, it established a joint conference system led by the Ministry of Civil Affairs and other 27 departments to ascertain the duties of families, government, and schools, and to allow social forces to take part in the care system. The joint conference system then carried out a survey of left-behind children and set up an information management system, and it was ascertained that there are 9.02 million left-behind children in rural areas, out of whom 5.89 million are in the age-range for compulsory education.