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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Education as a Population Control Mechanism in China: The Education and Policy for Migrant Children in Shanghai

  • Author(s): Wang, Trinity
  • et al.

This research investigates the different educational opportunities available to migrant children here defined as children whose hukou (household registration) is incompatible with their residing locality due to parental migration. I focus on Shanghai, the city with the largest migrant population in China. In the first section of this paper, I introduce the hukou system which maintains the regional exclusivity of public education among other forms of welfare and debars migrant children from having the same education opportunities as children with local-hukou. Then, I historicize major policy changes and effects, drawing from official statistics as well as international literature. The second section is comprised of my interviews with principals, administrators, and teachers from seven schools in Shanghai. Through the cross-comparison of numerous factors, this research finds a recurring trajectory from 2008-2018 among the interview migrant schools. Due to Shanghai’s city-wide demolition of unauthorized constructions and increasingly stringent migrant student admission requirements, migrant families are radically expelled from the city, resulting in a continuing decrease of student enrollment which threatens the survival of the remaining private migrant schools.

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