The current study examined the patterns of adaptation of rural-to-urban migrant children in China as compared with their peers in urban schools. It also explored the potential factors relating to school adaptation by employing the cultural and structural perspectives, which emphasizes the access to social relations and the socioeconomic status in a society.
We conducted surveys in a district with a large number of migrants in Shanghai. This cross-sectional study recruited 1577 children from 12 primary schools, who completed self-reported questionnaires.
Attending a public school can promote the children’s adaptation, including the access to more family resources (d = 0.77, p < 0.05; 0.47, p < 0.05; 0.28, p < 0.05) and social relations (Cohen’s d = 0.17, p < 0.05; 0.28, p< 0.05; 0.11, p < 0.05). However, policy limitations and lack of family resources are primary factors that prevent children from attending public schools. Children from families with higher income (OR = 1.28, 95% CI [1.05, 1.55], p < 0.05), higher parental education achievement (OR = 1.19, 95% CI [1.05, 1.35], p < 0.01), and homeownership (OR = 2.03, 95% CI [5.35, 10.95], p < 0.001) are more likely to enroll in a public school.
The study’s findings contribute to the growing knowledge about migrant children’s adaptation and can guide future policy-making. The adaptation gap between migrant children from public and migrant schools raises a concern about the upward mobility of migrant children from disadvantaged families, which requires more attention and support from local government.
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X.S.: designed and executed the study, conducted the analyses and wrote the paper. The author is grateful to the support from Dr. Bin Fan for her help with data collection. E.W.T.C.: collaborated with the writing of this paper. J.C. and Y.F.: collaborated with the data analysis.
This research received funding from the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities and Shanghai Philosophy and Social Science Planning Project (2019ESH003).
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The researcher obtained the ethical approval from the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) of the University of Hong Kong in June 2015 before starting the survey (Ref No.: EA3506011). All procedures of the survey were strictly in accordance with the ethical standards of the HREC guidelines.
Informed consent was obtained from all participants and their parents.
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Sun, X., Chui, E.W.T., Chen, J. et al. School Adaptation of Migrant Children in Shanghai: Accessing Educational Resources and Developing Relations. J Child Fam Stud 29, 1745–1756 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-019-01608-0
- School adaptation
- Migrant children
- Educational resources
- Social relationships