Ross, H. & Lou, J. (2009). Education in Rural Areas. In David Pong (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Modern China. Vol. 4, 473-476, Charles Scribner's Sons.

Ross, H. & Lou, J. (2009). Education in Rural Areas. In David Pong (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Modern China. Vol. 4, 473-476, Charles Scribner's Sons.
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  Encyclopedia of Modern China, Volume 1 – Finals/ 6/9/2009 18:27 Page 473 Murphy, Rachel. Turning Peasants into Modern ChineseCitizens: “ Population Quality  ” Discourse, DemographicTransition, and Primary Education. China Quarterly  177(2004): 1 – 20.Pepper, Suzanne. Radicalism and Education Reform in 20th-century China: The Search for an Ideal Development Model. New York:Cambridge University Press, 1996.Thøgersen, Stig. A County of Culture: Twentieth-century China Seen from the Village Schools of Zouping, Shandong  . Ann Arbor:University of Michigan Press, 2002.Treiman, Donald. The Growth and Determinants of Literacy in China. In Education and Reform in China, eds. Emily Hannum and Albert Park, 135 – 153. New York: Routledge,2007. Watson, David. Chinese Universities in the Service of Society: AReport on the China-England Study of National Policy on Higher Education Management. London: British Council, 2007.  Edward Vickers  EDUCATION IN RURAL  AREAS Throughout the twentieth century, China  ’ s educationalsystem reflected a sharp urban-rural dichotomy, held inplace by the household ( hukou ) registration system estab-lished in the 1950s. The People ’ s Republic of China inherited a system with a scholastic, liberal, and urbanethos. Although universal basic education was a statedRepublican aim, formal schooling was directed by profes-sional elites and was largely disconnected from the lives of ordinary citizens (Price 1979; Kwong 1979). The ChineseCommunist Party perpetuated rural-urban divisions by using irregular and full-time schools to simultaneously address the contradictory needs of  “ the masses ” and thegoal of national construction and production. Balancing  “ red and expert ” missions complicated educational reformfor decades.The goal of universal basic education was tied toeradicating illiteracy. China  ’ s illiteracy rate stood between85 percent and 90 percent at the beginning of the twen-tieth century and remained virtually unchanged fifty yearslater (Ross 2006). The uneven distribution of literacy andschooling was a function of poverty, a region ’ s remotenessfrom market centers, and the reluctance of leaders toplace politically empowering literacy in nonelite hands(Woodside 1992; Pepper 1996; Peterson 1997). Policiesto extend education to rural residents chiefly relied onthe establishment of spare-time, part-work schools thatcombined education with productive labor (Hu 1962;Price 1979). THE GREAT LEAP FORWARD ANDTHE CULTURAL REVOLUTION In 1958, the official figure for elementary school enroll-ment was 86 million, accounting for 85 percent of thestudents of compulsory age (Pepper 1996, pp. 283 – 284).In many rural areas, however, the figure was likely below 70 percent (Price 1979, p. 213). A policy of  “  walking on two legs ” supported the establishment of regular and irregular schools, including spare-time minban (self-financing, locally managed) literacy classes and schools,and tens of thousands of irregular, minban agriculturalmiddle and high schools (Kwong 1979; Pepper 1996;Price 1979). Although such popularization efforts resultedin low-quality schooling, giving rise to key-point schools within the regular system, educational opportunities for rural children and adults expanded, measured by theincrease in gross enrollments (Cleverley 1985; Kwong 1979).The decade of the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976)brought widespread criticism of the country  ’ s school sys-tem as exclusionary and elitist. Key-point schools werebranded as “ little treasure pagodas, ” while regular, minban ,and part-time rural schools expanded rapidly. Coupled with an influx into the countryside of  “ sent down ” urbanyouths who frequently acted as teachers, wider educa-tional access contributed to increased agricultural produc-tion and the democratization of village political cultureat the close of the Mao era (Thøgersen 1990; Price 1979;Han 2000; Joel 2004; Pepper 1996). However, ruralresidents viewed irregular work-study options, whichfailed to provide upward social mobility, as inferior toregular schooling (Pepper 1996, p. 349). In addition, thegovernment placed tighter restrictions on rural-urbanmigration to ensure that rural youths stayed in the coun-tryside. A combination of a lack of qualified teachers andresources, closures of secondary schools and colleges, nar-rowly ideological pedagogy, severe disruptions in attend-ance and in the school calendar, and low student moralenegatively affected the literacy rates of the cohort bornbetween 1955 and 1966 (Bhola 1984; Hopkins 1986;Thøgersen 1990; Seeberg 1990; Treiman 2002). In theend, Cultural Revolution educational policies supported “ the formation and reproduction of social differences ” between rural and urban residents (Peterson 1997, p. 17). THREE DECADES OF REFORM Beginning in the late 1970s, early reform-era policies rein-scribed urban-rural divisions, putting enormous pressure onthe education system ’ s Four Modernization priorities of efficiency and excellence privileged full-time schooling andprecipitated a sharp decline in rural middle-school enroll-ment (Pepper 1996). With the revival of key-point schools,educational resources were concentrated in cities, towns,  Education: Education in Rural Areas  ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN CHINA  473  Encyclopedia of Modern China, Volume 1 – Finals/ 6/9/2009 18:27 Page 474 and county seats, and the reinstituted national collegeentrance examination became one of the few means by  which rural students, who perceived secondary schooling asthe means to “ leap over the village gate ” ( tiaochu nongmen ),could enjoy urban social-welfare benefits (Hawkins 1983,p. 120; Thøgersen 1990).The economic and social dangers of backtracking onuniversal basic education became apparent to state offi-cials by the early 1980s. Rural education was plagued by poor teaching, dangerously inadequate infrastructure andfacilities, and a secondary-school dropout rate ranging ashigh as 50 percent to 70 percent (Thøgersen 1990). Insuf-ficient numbers and high costs of high schools, family-planning policies that exacerbated dropout rates, and a lack of effective vocational schools negatively impacted schoolattendance, especially of female and minority rural chil-dren (Seeberg et al. 2007).China  ’ s nine-year Compulsory Education Law wasimplemented in 1986, and the net enrollment rate for primary-school-age children increased from 84.7 percentin 1985 to 99.5 percent in 2007 (Ministry of Education2007). While less than 70 percent of primary-school grad-uates were admitted into junior high school during the mid-1980s, virtually all students now matriculate to junior highschool (Ministry of Education 2006b). Illiteracy ratesamong youths and adults (ages twelveto forty), which stoodat 30 percent in 1970, dropped to 20 percent in 1988, andby the early 2000s China had basically achieved nine-year compulsory education and universal functional literacy among youths and middle-aged adults (Xie 2002; Ross2006, p. 3). The gender gap in school enrollment has alsobeen greatly reduced (Ministry of Education 2008).Nevertheless, rural education efforts face significantchallenges. Pressure on junior middle-school students tobecome migrant workers explain dropout rates that reach30 percent or higher (Lou and Ross 2008). Nearly seventy millionchildrenofmigrantparentsare “ leftbehind ” inhomes with one or no parents, leaving rural schools overwhelmed with custodial responsibilities. At least until the economicdownturn of 2008, as many as twenty million migrant chil-dren under eighteen years of age were living in cities and working as laborers, manywithout access to schooling(Min-istry of Education 2005; China Statistical Yearbook  2006). Admission to senior high school is difficult for ruralstudents who have proportionately fewer high-schooloptions than their urban counterparts. Many rural students who are successful in college preparatory high schools can-not take full advantage of the dramatic expansion of higher education, where gross enrollment rates were 23 percent in2007 compared to 3 percent in the early 1990s. High  Math instruction at a rural school, Yanmaidi, Sichuan province, March 18, 2005. Formal education remains a struggle in many parts of rural China, due in part to a lack of classrooms,supplies, and teachers. Despite assistance from the government to ensure each student completes a minimum of nine years of schooling, many children suspend their studies to help on family farms.  AP IMAGES  Education: Education in Rural Areas  474 ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN CHINA   Encyclopedia of Modern China, Volume 1 – Finals/ 6/9/2009 18:27 Page 475 college tuition on top of heavy high-school fees creates a financial burden beyond the means of poor rural families.Likewise, midwestern and western provinces have far fewer quotas for the entrance of their students into prestigiousinstitutions of higher education.To address educational disparity, the state has reliedprimarily on the decentralization of K  – 12 school financing.Beginning in 1986, funding was decentralized, and county-and village-level education offices gained a greater degree of decision-making power. While elite urban schools receivedconsiderablepublicsupport,financialresponsibilityforruralschools was left largely to local communities that reliedheavily on surcharges, stipulated by the State Council tobe 1.5 percent to 2 percent of the per capita net income of farmers each year. After 1995, the state recentralized somefinancial responsibilities through poverty-relief education-support programs (Su 2002). Rural school expansion hasalso been supported by initiatives such as Project Hope,launched in 1989 by the China Youth Development Foun-dation and aimed at pooling charitable donations to assisteducation,andtheSpringBudProject,launchedin1989by the All-China Women ’ s Federation to support impover-ished female students.Rural schools continue to struggle with funding short-falls, debt, inferior infrastructure, and poor teaching. The2008 Wenchuan earthquake, in which well over 10,000students perished due to the collapse of unstable schoolbuildings, became a symbol of lack of attention to ruralschooling, in spite of improved national oversight, includ-ing county-by-county reviews of compulsory schooling,mandated since 1993. One bright spot in efforts toenhance educational equity is the Rural Compulsory Edu-cation Assured Funding Mechanism, which was estab-lished in Spring 2005 to provide free education in ruralregions. The funding framework assures that spending onrural compulsory education is shared between the centralgovernment and local authorities. The central governmentassumes most financing responsibilities in rural educationthrough its key policy, Two Exemptions and One Subsidy (TEOS), which provides financial support for school fees,textbooks, and boarding costs. TEOS was implementedfirst in the west in spring 2006 and applied to rural andurban children throughout China in the autumn of 2008.The state has finally made genuinely free universal basiceducation central to its efforts to “ build a socialist new countryside ” (Lou and Ross 2008). BIBLIOGRAPHY  Bailey, Paul. Reform the People: Changing Attitudes Towards Popular Education in Early Twentieth-century China  .Edinburgh, U.K.: Edinburgh University Press, 1990.Bhola, H. S. The Anti-illiteracy Campaigns in the People ’ sRepublic of China: From the 1950s to the 1980s. In Campaigning for Literacy: Eight National Experiences of the Twentieth Century, with a Memorandum to Decision-makers  ,ed. H. S. Bhola, 73 – 90. Paris: UNESCO, 1984.Borthwick, Sally. Education and Social Change in China: The Beginnings of the Modern Era  . Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1983.China Children and Teenagers ’ Fund. The Spring Bud Project.  Zhongguo Tongji Nianjian [China Statistical Yearbook]. Beijing:China Statistics Press, 2006.China Youth Development Foundation. Project Hope. http://, John. The Schooling of China: Tradition and Modernity in Chinese Education . Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1985.Fraser, Stewart E. China: Population Education and People  .Melbourne, Australia: School of Education, La TrobeUniversity, 1987.Gamberg, Ruth. Red and Expert: Education in the People  ’   s Republic of China  . New York: Schocken, 1977.Han Dongping. The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Educational Reforms and Their Impact on China  ’   s Rural Development  . New  York: Garland, 2000.Hawkins, John N. Education and Social Change in the People  ’   s Republic of China  . New York: Praeger, 1983.Hopkins, Dorothy. China  ’ s Successful Adult Literacy Campaign.  Adult Literacy and Basic Education 10, 2 (1986): 102 – 116.Hu Chang-tu. Chinese Education under Communism . New York:Teachers ’ College, Columbia University, 1962. Joel, Andreas. Leveling the Little Pagoda: The Impact of CollegeExaminations, and Their Elimination, on Rural Education inChina. Comparative Education Review  48, 1 (2004): 1 – 48.Kwong, Julia. Chinese Education in Transition: Prelude to the Cultural Revolution . Montreal: McGill-Queen ’ s University Press, 1979.Lou Jingjing and Heidi Ross. From Fee to Free: Achieving theRight to Education in China. Chinese Education and Society  41, 1 (2008): 1 – 7.Ministry of Education of the People ’ s Republic of China. “  Weilai50 nian Zhongguo jiaoyu yu renli ziyuan kaifade zhanluegouxiang  ” [Strategic concepts for the development of Chineseeducation and human resources for the next fifty years in a country with a large population to a country with soundhuman resources — Report on the problems of China  ’ seducation and human resources]. Chinese Education and Society  (2005): 38/4, 61 – 69.Ministry of Education of the People ’ s Republic of China. 2005 Nian quanguo jiaoyu shiye fazhan tongji gongbao  [2005National statistic report on the development of education].2006a. of Education of the People ’ s Republic of China. Geji  Xuexiao Biyesheng Shengxue Lv  [Promotion Rate of Graduatesof School of All Levels]. 2006b. of Education of the People ’ s Republic of China. 2006 Nian jiaoyu tongji shuju: Geji gelei xuexiao xiaoshu [2006Statistics of education in China: Number of schools by leveland type]. 2007. of Education of the People ’ s Republic of China. 2007 Nian quanguo jiaoyu shiye fazhan tongji gongbao  [2007National statistic report on the development of education].  Education: Education in Rural Areas  ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN CHINA  475  Encyclopedia of Modern China, Volume 1 – Finals/ 6/9/2009 18:27 Page 476 2008. Xiaodong. Policy Education and Inequalities in Communist China since 1949  . Lanham, MD: University Press of America,1992.Pepper, Suzanne. China  ’   s Education Reform in the 1980s: Policies,Issues, and Historical Perspectives  . Berkeley: University of California, Center for Chinese Studies, 1990.Pepper, Suzanne. Radicalism and Education Reform in 20th-century China: The Search for an Ideal Development Model  . Cambridge,U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1996.Peterson, Glen. The Power of Words: Literacy and Revolution inSouth China, 1949  –  95  . Vancouver: University of BritishColumbia Press, 1997.Price, R. F. Education in Modern China  . 2nd ed. London:Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979.Rawski, Evelyn Sakakida. Education and Popular Literacy in Ch  ’   ing China  . Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1979.Ross, Heidi. UNESCO EFA Monitoring Group Report: Literacy Education in China  . Paris: UNESCO, 2006.Seeberg, Vilma. Literacy in China: The Effect of the National Development Context and Policy on Literacy Levels, 1949  –  79  .Bochum, Germany: Brockmeyer, 1990.Seeberg, Vilma, Heidi Ross, Tan Guangyu, and Liu Jinghuan.Grounds for Prioritizing Education for Girls: The Telling Caseof Left-behind Rural China. In International Perspectives onEducation and Society  ; Vol. 8: Education for All: Global Promises, National Challenges, eds. David Baker and Alexander  Wiseman, 109 – 154. Oxford: Elsevier Science, 2007.Su Xiaohuan. Education in China: Reforms and Innovations  .Beijing: China Intercontinental Press, 2002.Thøgersen, Stig. Secondary Education in China after Mao: Reformand Social Conflict  . Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University Press, 1990.Treiman, Donald J. The Growth and Determinants of Literacy inChina. California Center for Population Research, University of California, Los Angeles. On-Line Working Paper Series:Paper ccpr-005-02. 2002. Woodside, Alexander. Real and Imagined Continuities in theChinese Struggle for Literacy. In Education and Modernization:The Chinese Experience  , ed. Ruth Hayhoe, 23 – 45. New York:Pergamon Press, 1992. Xie Goudong. Toward the Eradication of Illiteracy among Youthand Adults in China. In Integrating Lifelong Learning Perspectives  , ed. Carolyn Medel-Añonuevo, 267 – 268.Hamburg, Germany: UNESCO Institute for Education, 2002. Heidi Ross  Jingjing Lou  KINDERGARTEN Kindergartens in China are early childhood centers thatprovide education and care for children ages three to six, with programs often organized into three age groups. Thefirst Chinese kindergarten was established in 1903 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, by the governmentduring the Qing dynasty (1644 – 1912). Its curriculum andinstruction were borrowed from Japan, and the principaland teachers were Japanese. The Chinese term for kinder-garten, youzhiyuan , was taken from the Japanese y   ochien , which was written the same way in both languages. In1904 the provincial government in Hubei established theGuimao School System and formally included kindergartenfor the first time, marking the beginning of center-basedearly childhood education in China. HISTORICAL REVIEW  Since 1949, the development of kindergartens has beenclosely linked to political and socioeconomic changes inChina and can be roughly grouped into four periods.First, a  rapid expansion (1949 – 1957) occurred when thenew socialist regime encouraged women to join the labor force and rapidly developed kindergartens and nurseries inurban as well as rural areas. The major purpose of kinder-gartens during this period was to provide child-care serv-ices for working parents.Second, a  chaotic  period (1958 – 1977) ensued whenthe country went through political turmoil (e.g., the Cul-tural Revolution) and kindergartens were closed along withother educational institutions. During this period, chil-dren were sent home and qualified teachers were sent torural or remote areas for reeducation through labor.Third, a period of  resurgence  (1978 – 1993) developed when, propelled by an open-door policy, market-economy reform, and the one-child policy that started in the late1970s, kindergartens enjoyed unprecedented developmentand provided early childhood care and education to a larger number of children and parents. More importantly, a seriesof recommendations, regulations, and guidelines were issuedto regulate kindergartens during this period. As a result,kindergartens became better regulated, and the focus of theprograms changed from custodial child care to a balancebetween care and education (Zhu Jiaxong and X. Christine Wang, 2005).Fourth, a  commercialization period began in 1994 asthe market economy began to take hold in China. Kin-dergartens were forced to commercialize. Early childhoodeducation was eliminated from the compulsory educationsystem and lost public funding. In addition, the early childhood education departments at different governmen-tal levels were cut and weakened. Consequently, kinder-gartens were transformed into market-driven and self-funded systems. PROVISION AND ENROLLMENT Corresponding to the aforementioned changes, Table 1presents the official figures on the provision and enrollmentof kindergartens from 1949 to 2005. The gross enrollmentratio for kindergarten increased rapidly in the 1990s, from  Education: Kindergarten 476 ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN CHINA 
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