Despite covering the entire population, China's compulsory education fails many rural learners due to migration and putting salary ahead of knowledge, according to an official report.
The report, result of a law enforcement inspection of compulsory education, was delivered to the top legislature on Monday, and notes a relatively high middle school drop-out rate in underdeveloped central and western regions -- well over 10 percent in some remote, impoverished areas where ethnic minorities predominate.
According to the report, most failures to complete middle school were due to late school transfers following family migration. Other children left school after their nearest schools were closed in redistribution drives. Some are forced to give up school to start work and contribute to family income.
While clarifying that "extremely few" cases come directly from poverty, the report notes a "semi-drop-out" phenomenon. Some rural children cut their school hours dramatically while nominally retaining student status. Additionally, economic development influences educational investment and the per capita school budget in some developed regions can be ten times that for an underdeveloped province.
The report calls for widespread improvement to school standards, adjustment of the distribution of teaching resources and emphasis on compulsory education in the urbanization drive.
The report also stresses the government's obligation to ensure that students may go to nearest school without admission exams, and calls for more efforts to hammer home to parents the importance of education.