Due to the devastating impact of the world financial crisis on migrant workers in export-driven sectors in China’s developed eastern seaboard, vast numbers of migrant workers' children are being sent back to the countryside to go to school, and many rural schools are unable to cope with the sudden influx of students, according to a recently-published investigative report by the Southern Daily (南方日报). Due to economic difficulties and the discriminatory household registration system (户籍制度), many migrant workers who work in the city are forced to leave their children behind in the countryside to be raised by their grandparents and to attend generally sub-standard schools. CLB has previously looked into the difficulties that these “left behind children” face in terms of accessing quality education, becoming victims to violent attacks and sexual assault, and in dealing with other psychological problems caused by being cut off from the warm love of their parents. For the education community, this new influx of students is compounding the already very difficult challenge of educating a problem-prone disadvantaged group. Now, for many teachers, the old “left behind children” are seen as an “old pain”, while the new returnees are seen as a fresh “new wound”.
20 March 2009