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February 25, 2010

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Home » Metro » Education

All city migrants' kids to get free school

SHANGHAI this year will become the first Chinese city to provide free education to children of migrant workers.

At present, 97.3 percent of 420,000 migrant children sit in public or private schools managed and funded by the city government, according to the Shanghai Education Commission.

"The remaining 2.7 percent non-local students in the 20-plus existing migrant schools will be gradually transferred to public schools," said Ni Minjing, director of the commission's Elementary Education Department.

"We are striving to make all school-age migrant kids enjoy the free education before the World Expo opens on May 1," Ni said.

Providing fair and equal education to children of migrant workers is a big challenge in Chinese cities. Many schools only enroll students of local residents, leaving little chance for children of migrant workers.

More schools

Many migrants' children have to go to unlicensed private schools, which usually are run by retired teachers or business people for profit.

"We had limited education resources before and the city had to first ensure the needs of locals," Ni said.

"With the construction of more schools and increased government investment in facilities and teachers, all migrant kids will be able to enjoy free education as locals soon."

Shanghai put 3.69 billion yuan (US$540 million) into helping local schools enroll more school-age migrant children last year.

Since the city kicked off the campaign to regulate unlicensed migrant schools two years ago, 151 of the total 240-plus migrant schools have been successfully turned into private ones under the government's oversight.


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