Help­ing ru­ral teach­ers can help re­duce drop-outs

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - IT IS NOT UN­COM­MON for

chil­dren from Guizhou prov­ince and other parts of South­west China to work at small work­shops in coastal prov­inces such as Jiangsu, an eco­nomic en­gine in the Yangtze River Delta. Bei­jing Youth Daily com­mented on Thurs­day:

Teach­ers in poverty-stricken ar­eas can do lit­tle to pre­vent chil­dren from quit­ting school to go and work in fac­to­ries in bet­ter-off places.

Most of these child la­bor­ers are chil­dren who have been left be­hind in their home­towns by par­ents who work else­where. And even if it is free in their home­towns, few of the chil­dren think com­plet­ing the nine years of com­pul­sory ed­u­ca­tion will bring them a bet­ter fu­ture. They would rather start work­ing as early as pos­si­ble, so they can make money as soon as pos­si­ble.

The govern­ment should not ig­nore the fact that even if these chil­dren fin­ish their ju­nior mid­dle school ed­u­ca­tion, it is very dif­fi­cult for them to suc­ceed in the com­pet­i­tive en­trance ex­ams for high school and col­lege or in the com­pe­ti­tion for good jobs, be­cause the qual­ity of the nine-year com­pul­sory ed­u­ca­tion in their home­towns is gen­er­ally low.

And the cost of high school and col­lege ed­u­ca­tion is a prac­ti­cal bur­den for their fam­i­lies. Sta­tis­tics show even if stu­dents in the coun­try­side pass the col­lege en­trance exam, most of them go to “third-class col­leges”. It is eas­ier for a mi­grant worker to find a job than a grad­u­ate of such schools, and the in­come of mi­grant work­ers may even be more.

Com­pared with a costly and un­cer­tain fu­ture that go­ing to school of­fers them, the chil­dren in poor ru­ral ar­eas would rather have the cer­tainty that work­ing in a fac­tory brings them.

The govern­ment needs to in­crease the pay for teach­ers in ru­ral ar­eas in or­der to at­tract bet­ter teach­ers to work in these ar­eas, in­crease its in­put into ru­ral ed­u­ca­tion to im­prove its qual­ity, and pro­vide vo­ca­tional train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion for those who would like to work af­ter leaving ju­nior mid­dle school.

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