School Adaptation of Migrant Children in Shanghai: Accessing Educational Resources and Developing Relations

Abstract

Objectives

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Alba, R. D., & Nee, V. (2003). Remaking the American mainstream: assimilation and contemporary immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  2. Baker, J. A. (2006). Contributions of teacher–child relationships to positive school adjustment during elementary school. Journal of School Psychology, 44(3), 211–229.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bleakley, H., & Chin, A. (2004). Language skills and earnings: evidence from childhood immigrants. Review of Economics and Statistics.86(2), 481–496.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Chan, K. W., & Buckingham, W. (2008). Is China abolishing the hukou system? China Quarterly, 195(1), 582–605.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Chedzoy, S. M., & Burden, R. (2005). Making the move: assessing student attitudes to primary-secondary school transfer. Research in Education, 74(1), 22–35.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Chen, J., Wang, D., & Zhou, Y. (2017). Education for population control: migrant children’s education under new policies in Beijing. In Y.-K. Cha, J. Gundara, S.-H. Ham & M. Lee (Eds), Multicultural education in global perspectives: policy and institutionalization (pp. 153–166). Singapore: Springer Nature.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Chen, Y., & Feng, S. (2013). Access to public schools and the education of migrant children in China. China Economic Review, 26, 75–88.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990). treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=IND&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en. Accessed 17 July 2018.

  9. Dong, J. (2010). Neo-liberalism and the evolvement of China’s education policies on migrant children’s schooling. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 8(1), 137–160.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Duan, C., Lv, L., Wang, Z., & Guo, J. (2013). The survival and development status of floating children in China: an analysis of the sixth population census data [in Chinese]. South China Population, 28(4), 44–55.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Duan, C., Lv, L., & Zhou, X. (2013). Major challenges for China’s floating population and policy suggestions: an analysis of the 2010 population census data [in Chinese]. Population Research, 37(2), 17–24.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Goodburn, C. (2009). Learning from migrant education: a case study of the schooling of rural migrant children in Beijing. International Journal of Educational Development, 29(5), 495–504.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Gordon, M. (1964). Assimilation in American life: the role of race, religion, and national origins. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Hou, S., Yuan, X. J., Liu, Y., Lin, X. Y., & Fang, X. Y. (2011). The effect of social support and perceived discrimination on loneliness among migrant children: a longitudinal study. Psychological Development and Education, 27(4), 401–411.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Hu, H., Lu, S., & Huang, C. C. (2014). The psychological and behavioral outcomes of migrant and left-behind children in China. Children and Youth Services Review, 46, 1–10.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Hu, X., Cook, S., & Salazar, M. A. (2008). Internal migration and health in China. The Lancet, 372(9651), 1717–1719.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Human Rights Watch (2006). China: Beijing closes schools for migrant children in pre-olympic clean-up. www.hrw.org/news/2006/09/25/china-beijing-closes-schools-migrant-children-pre-olympic-clean. Accessed 10 July 2018.

  18. Jia, X., & Liu, X. (2017). Perceived discrimination and antisocial behaviour among Chinese rural-to-urban migrant adolescents: mediating effects of social support. International Journal of Psychology, 52(4), 327–335.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Kanbur, R., & Zhang, X. (2005). Fifty years of regional inequality in China: a journey through central planning, reform, and openness. Review of Development Economics, 9(1), 87–106.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Kingery, J. N., Erdley, C. A., & Marshall, K. C. (2011). Peer acceptance and friendship as predictors of early adolescents’ adjustment across the middle school transition. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 57(3), 215–243.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Kipping, R. R., Smith, M., Heron, J., Hickman, M., & Campbell, R. (2014). Multiple risk behaviour in adolescence and socio-economic status: findings from a UK birth cohort. European Journal of Public Health, 25(1), 44–49.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Li, J. (2016). We want to be together: Double pressure for migrant children’s lucky place—Shanghai. iesr.jnu.edu.cn/News/NewsDetails?nid=79. Accessed 16 July 2018.

  23. Li, Z. (2017). Report on the development of Chinese migrant population [Web news]. Xinmin Net. www.xinmin.cn. Accessed 29 Nov 2018.

  24. Liang, Z., & Chen, Y. P. (2007). The educational consequences of migration for children in China. Social Science Research, 36(1), 28–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Liem, G. A. D., & Martin, A. J. (2011). Peer relationships and adolescents’ academic and non-academic outcomes: same-sex and opposite-sex peer effects and the mediating role of school engagement. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 81(2), 183–206.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Liu, J., & Jacob, W. J. (2013). From access to quality: migrant children’s education in urban China. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 12(3), 177–191.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Liu, T., Holmes, K., & Albright, J. (2015). Predictors of mathematics achievement of migrant children in Chinese urban schools: a comparative study. International Journal of Educational Development, 42, 35–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Liu, X., & Zhao, J. (2016). Chinese migrant adolescents’ perceived discrimination and psychological well-being: the moderating roles of group identity and the type of school. PloS ONE, 11(1), e0146559.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Liu, Y., Li, X., Chen, L., & Qu, Z. (2015). Perceived positive teacher–student relationship as a protective factor for Chinese left-behind children’s emotional and behavioural adjustment. International Journal of Psychology, 50(5), 354–362.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Murray, C., & Malmgren, K. (2005). Implementing a teacher–student relationship program in a high-poverty urban school: Effects on social, emotional, and academic adjustment and lessons learned. Journal of School Psychology, 43(2), 137–152.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Portes, A., & Rivas, A. (2011). The adaptation of migrant children. Future of Children, 21(1), 219–246.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. St-Hilaire, A. (2002). The social adaptation of children of Mexican immigrants: educational aspirations beyond junior high school. Social Science Quarterly, 83(4), 1026–1043.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Sun, X., Chen, M., & Chan, K. L. (2016). A meta-analysis of the impacts of internal migration on child health outcomes in China. BMC Public Health, 16, 66.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Tian, L. (2015). Land use dynamics driven by rural industrialization and land finance in the peri-urban areas of China: the examples of Jiangyin and Shunde. Land Use Policy, 45, 117–127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Trickett, E. J., & Birman, D. (2005). Acculturation, school context, and school outcomes: adaptation of refugee adolescents from the former Soviet Union. Psychology in the Schools, 42(1), 27–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Verheyde, M. A. (2006). Commentary on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Article 28, the Right to Education (pp. 26–70). Leiden & Boston, MA: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Wang, L. (2008). The marginality of migrant children in the urban Chinese educational system. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 29(6), 691–703.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Wong, F. K. D., Chang, Y. L., & He, X. S. (2009). Correlates of psychological wellbeing of children of migrant workers in Shanghai, China. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 44(10), 815–824.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Woodhouse, S. S., Dykas, M. J., & Cassidy, J. (2012). Loneliness and peer relations in adolescence. Social Development, 21(2), 273–293.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Woronov, T. E. (2004). In the eye of the chicken hierarchy and marginality among Beijing’s migrant schoolchildren. Ethnography, 5(3), 289–313.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Woronov, T. E. (2008). Raising quality, fostering “creativity”: ideologies and practices of education reform in Beijing. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 39(4), 401–422.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Xiang, X. (2018). My future, my family, my freedom: meanings of schooling for poor, rural Chinese youth. Harvard Educational Review, 88(1), 81–102.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Zhang, W., Wang, X., Li, J., & Xu, Z. (2014). Uncompensated care for children without insurance or from low-income families in a Chinese children’s hospital. Medical Science Monitor, 20, 1162–1167.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Zhao, J., Liu, X., & Wang, M. (2015). Parent–child cohesion, friend companionship and left-behind children’s emotional adaptation in rural China. Child Abuse & Neglect, 48, 190–199.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author Contributions

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.

Funding

This research received funding from the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities and Shanghai Philosophy and Social Science Planning Project (2019ESH003).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xiaoyue Sun.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

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

Informed consent was obtained from all participants and their parents.

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

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

Download citation

Keywords

  • School adaptation
  • Migrant children
  • Educational resources
  • Social relationships
  • China