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Shanghai's education 'umbrella'
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08:21, February 17, 2009

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Children of migrant workers here will have the same educational opportunities as their urban counterparts by 2010, local authorities said recently.

According to the Shanghai education commission, all migrant workers' children in the city of school age will be enrolled in local public schools or government-subsidized private schools by 2010.

Migrant workers' children in existing primary schools will be transferred into government-subsidized schools over the next two years, officials said.

"Teaching quality in some of such schools cannot be ensured due to their limited education resources and teaching capacity, which is not advantageous to scoop out students' potential and contribute to their growth," a local education official said earlier.

Pudong district was selected as the pilot area, where some 13 primary schools for migrant workers' children have been transformed into government-subsidized schools last year.

"From this year, the government-subsidized education umbrella will cover all primary school-aged children in the district," said commission official Yin Houqing. "Then, the valuable experience will be widely promoted in the whole city."

The country's nine-year compulsory education system, which has long subsisted on government funds and comprises six-year free primary education and three-year secondary education, is provided for children aged 6-15.

But it is the privilege of children with local residential certification or hukou, and excludes children living with parents working in cities away from their registered home.

According to statistics, at least 7.6 million migrant workers' children reached the compulsory education age in 2007, and most were concentrated in developed areas such as Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces.

At least 4 million migrant workers are reportedly working in Shanghai. By the end of last year, more than 340,000 migrant workers' children have received compulsory education there, of which about 60 percent are in local public schools.

The figure will grow to 70 percent in the next two years, and the other 30 percent will go to government-subsidized schools, the commission said.

Source: China Daily

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