Educational Research for Policy and Practice

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 59–74 | Cite as

How far is educational equality for China? Analysing the policy implementation of education for migrant children

  • Shuiyun LiuEmail author
  • Xia Zhao
Original Article


This research examined migrant children education (MCE) policies implemented in China since the late 1990s. The empirical study in Beijing demonstrated that MCE policies pushed public schools to enrol migrant children, but the policy objective of educational equality has not been fully realised. The policy implementers’ capabilities and motivation did not meet expectations. The policy design and its implementing environment are also reflected upon. It was found that MCE policy objectives were legitimate and ambitious, but the policy design was vague. The central government did not provide support or pressure for policy implementation, thus the policy design was not favourable for effective implementation. Under the current political system, local governments have certain autonomy to decide the extent to which MCE policies are implemented; this is done in accordance with reciprocity between central and local government.


MCE policies Migrant children Educational equality Educational policy Implementation 



We thank 2017 Beijing Social Science Fund (17JYC028) and Funding for postgraduate students’ training and teaching (00300-160112101), Beijing Normal University.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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