About 60% of China's elementary-school-aged children, or, 63 million children, attend village elementary schools (Ministry of Education, China Educational Statistics Yearbook 2009). Studies have shown that in some rural areas, nearly half of rural students do not go on to high school, in stark contrast to urban areas where most children finish high school. The primary reason for this is not financial difficulty but lack of relevance that schoolwork has to students' future prospects and the kinds of teaching methods used (Institute of Rural Education, Northeast Normal University study 2009).
To improve rural education, quality teachers are needed but the best teachers often flee to city schools where wages and conditions are better. National curriculum reforms launched in 2001 promote creativity and critical thinking but they have yet to trickle down to rural educational practice because rural teachers lack the training, resources and supportive environment that urban teachers have to change their practice. Thus, the well-meaning curriculum reform is ironically widening the already large gap between rural and urban education. Providing rural youth with quality education relevant to their life needs is crucial to China's future.
- about us
- get involved