Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Don't Want to be Born a Rural Child

Interesting opinion piece in China Daily, highlighting the economic divide between rural and urban families in China, recounting a trip to Fujian Province with the author's young daughter:

The elementary school in the village was built with donations from an overseas Chinese originally from the area, with only three teachers and 25 first and second graders. Other graders have to attend schools in another village or town.

Though tuition is only a couple of hundred yuan, most village children have to drop out either after elementary school or junior middle school because of poor academic performance or because their families are too poor to support several children in school at the same time.

In the villages we visited, many 15- and 16-year-olds have already left home to work in cities. Many women in their early 20s have already become mothers, some to two or three babies.

The village has no Internet access, making us urban folks addicted to life in cyber
space feeling totally isolated from the rest of the world.

After doing a bit of calculation, both of us believe that an urban child, like my daughter, would spend more in a day than what a rural family of three earns by picking tealeaves for 12 hours.

And the entire sum of money spent on 50 village students would be much less than the amount earmarked for a student in a top middle school in Shanghai.

A lack of education and other resources simply means that rural children are left behind since the day they are born.


Lynne said...

This is terribly sad!

Wendy said...

It is so true, two friends of mine are from the same "town". One lived in the city and the other just outside, they are both in college now and there lives are very different--one goes to a small unknown college and is struggling--he doesn't feel he was prepared, and the other went to Beijing to a major university and has landed a BIG job with an international company. Two young men, same area, very different lives due to finances and education.