05 SES 13 A, Migrants, refugees and Roma youth
Privately-run migrant schools (PMSs) constitute the main educational provision for the children of rural-to-urban migrants in China's fast-developing cities. They provide an important educational opportunity for the 6-15-year-old migrant children (compulsory education) who would, instead, be ‘left-behind’ children or have no educational opportunities. The Chinese educational system devolves responsibility for compulsory education to local governments, at the county or district level. Funding for compulsory education is allocated by the number of children with a hukou, and does not transfer across administrative units. Although the central government urges local authorities to accommodate the educational needs of migrant children, in some cities, they lack incentives and financial resources. As a result, PMSsspring up to cater to migrant children’ educational needs. However, the voices from managing and teaching staff of PMSs about their needs are less noticed in extant literature. This research will demonstrate how these schools operate, the challenges and the improvements they aspire from an emic perspective of the stakeholders. Different from previous studies, which tend to study PMSs in highly developed cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, it focuses on schools in a relatively poor but burgeoning city, Guiyang, the capital city of one of China’s least developed provinces – Guizhou. There are insufficient studies on Guiyang in China or beyond. However, grassroots privately-run migrant schools are mushrooming in cities, such as this.
This project adopts an ethnographic approach on the basis that this is the most productive way to address my three research questions:
- What are the characteristics (demographic, financial & infrastructural) of PMSs in Guiyang?
- What kind of role(s) is being played by PMSs in the education of migrant children in the city from the perspective of managing and teaching staff?
- What kinds of challenges that teaching and managing staff of PMSs face, and the kinds of improvements they aspire to?
This study’s premise is that a commitment to social justice is an important goal for research about internal migrants and people related to, to highlight their circumstances, bearing in mind that a nation's citizens are its most valuable resource. If this resource is unable to participate in society to its fullest potential, both citizens and the nation are losing out. This study hopes, at the minimum, to inform debates around education policy.
This project adopts an ethnographic approach on the basis that this is the most productive way to address my research questions and provide a holistic understanding of PMSs. Three main methods were applied in the approach to investigating PMSs: firstly, the views of a selection of local NGO staff were collected (among whom semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 3 NGO directors who are serving PMSs). The three local NGO directors were selected because they all work closely with PMSs and migrant children for years and two of them take management roles in more than 3 schools. One director is responsible for a community centre for migrant children whose day-to-day life is to deal with migrant parents, migrant children and school management staff. Secondly, the perspectives of head teachers (15 of whom completed questionnaires which aim to explore the socio-educational context of PMSs ). All 15 schools were recruited by a purposive sampling method. Thirdly, the researcher undertook participant and non-participant observation (ethnographically recorded in field notes and photos to map the characteristics of these privately-run institutions). Finally, 22 semi-structured interviews were undertaken with head teachers and teachers to explore schools’ challenges and aspirations from their perspectives.
Some initial findings have emerged from the analysis. Regarding the research question on school challenges, the analysis identifies some of the key challenges faced by PMSs. Meanwhile, some of the ways in which the author observes and the teaching and managing staff suggest overcoming them have been highlighted. Firstly, both managing and teaching staff indicate that the Inferior infrastructures and limited resources constrain the education quality of PMSs, thus calling for more funding from the state or other funders to overcome hardware deficiency. Secondly, according to the managing staff, the problem being addressed on PMSs by local education authorities is not seen as ‘real’ and ‘urgent’ by teaching and managing staff. A platform that can empower and envoice the stakeholders of PMSs is needed to offer tailored support which captures the reality of PMSs and migrant children. Thirdly, both teaching and managing staff argue that low social status and low payment of working in PMSs result in new graduate’s reluctance to join PMSs and high turnover rate of young teachers. Providing reputational incentives (raise status of teachers in PMSs in the broader society) and financial incentives (such as tied accommodation if lack of funding) might be a way out.
•Chen, Y. and Feng, S. (2017) 'Quality of migrant schools in China: evidence from a longitudinal study in Shanghai', Journal of Population Economics, 30(3), pp. 1007-1034. •Haydon, G. (2010) Educational equality. 2nd. London: Continuum. •Hu, S. (2019) '“It’s for Our Education”: Perception of Parental Migration and Resilience Among Left-behind Children in Rural China', Social Indicators Research, 145(2), pp. 641-661. •Huang, S., Han, M., Sun, L., Zhang, H. and Li, H.J. (2019) 'Family socioeconomic status and emotional adaptation among rural-to-urban migrant adolescents in China: The moderating roles of adolescent's resilience and parental positive emotion', International Journal of Psychology, 54(5), pp. 573-581. •Lai, F., Liu, C., Luo, R., Zhang, L., Ma, X., Bai, Y., Sharbono, B. and Rozelle, S. (2014) 'The education of China's migrant children: The missing link in China's education system', International Journal of Educational Development, 37, pp. 68-77. •Ling, M. (2015) '“Bad students go to vocational schools!”: Education, social reproduction and migrant youth in urban China', The China Journal, (73), pp. 108-131. •Tooley, J. (2013) 'Challenging educational injustice: 'Grassroots' privatisation in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa', Oxford Review of Education, 39(4), pp. 446-463. •Wang, L. and Holland, T. (2011) 'In search of educational equity for the migrant children of Shanghai', Comparative Education, 47(4), pp. 471-487. •Yew, C.P. (2012) 'Pseudo-urbanization? Competitive government behaviour and urban sprawl in China', Journal of Contemporary China, 21(74), pp. 281-298.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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