Variations in Educational Inequalities in China and Policy Implications
As a result of China’s rapid economic development, its gross domestic product (GDP) increased by almost 28 times from US$360.9 billion in 1990 to US$11.2 trillion in 2016 (The World Bank 2017). A powerful pillar of China’s economic growth is the increase in the educational level of its population. Indeed, a country’s economic growth depends on a highly educated workforce. The scope of this chapter is confined to the analyses of educational attainment in compulsory education in relation to equality and equity issues. Based on data collected from a national sample in China in 2014, this chapter examines the combined effects of hukou status, economic regions, rural and urban residency, and gender on the educational attainment of Chinese people aged 12–43. In this study, educational attainment is defined as the actual number of years of completed schooling and the completion of the mandatory nine years of education, including elementary and junior high school. The results are interpreted with specific regard to the reasons for the disparities in the educational opportunities of rural migrant and urban residents. Based on these findings and the extant literature, several policy recommendations for improvement are suggested.
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