A Regional Comparison of the Causes and Consequences of Differential Educational Outcomes in Rural China

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Title: A Regional Comparison of the Causes and Consequences of Differential Educational Outcomes in Rural China
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Jiwani, Naushin
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2012
Publication Date: 2012


Subjects / Keywords: China
Educational Inequality
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theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
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Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: The purpose of this study is to analyze the possible causes and consequences of differential educational outcomes in rural China. I offer a brief comparative analysis of schooling in the rural eastern region with that of the rural inland regions to show how differences in educational outcomes are reflected in approach and quality among schools situated in rural and underdeveloped localities. Specifically, I seek to explore to what extent geography, socioeconomic status, health indicators, and rural youth's perceived benefit and value of schooling help explain educational attainment rates in rural primary and secondary schools. I address this question by examining differences in educational funding and resource utilization, quality of school facilities, per-capita rural expenditures educational attainment of the rural labor force, and the availability of health facilities across regions and for the nation as a whole. My analysis highlights the striking differences that exist in both access to and quality of schooling between different populations in China. Educational inequality is a persistent problem in China. The educational experiences and outcomes of rural students are hindered by a host of economic, political, and social forces, which leave them at a clear disadvantage. Expanding and equalizing educational outcomes is not only imperative for China's future development, but also a moral obligation. Chinese policymakers must provide a good quality education for all its citizens in order ensure a decent living.
Statement of Responsibility: by Naushin Jiwani
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2012
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Hernandez, Sarah; Khemraj, Tarron

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Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
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Classification: local - S.T. 2012 J6
System ID: NCFE004604:00001

Permanent Link:

Material Information

Title: A Regional Comparison of the Causes and Consequences of Differential Educational Outcomes in Rural China
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Jiwani, Naushin
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2012
Publication Date: 2012


Subjects / Keywords: China
Educational Inequality
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: The purpose of this study is to analyze the possible causes and consequences of differential educational outcomes in rural China. I offer a brief comparative analysis of schooling in the rural eastern region with that of the rural inland regions to show how differences in educational outcomes are reflected in approach and quality among schools situated in rural and underdeveloped localities. Specifically, I seek to explore to what extent geography, socioeconomic status, health indicators, and rural youth's perceived benefit and value of schooling help explain educational attainment rates in rural primary and secondary schools. I address this question by examining differences in educational funding and resource utilization, quality of school facilities, per-capita rural expenditures educational attainment of the rural labor force, and the availability of health facilities across regions and for the nation as a whole. My analysis highlights the striking differences that exist in both access to and quality of schooling between different populations in China. Educational inequality is a persistent problem in China. The educational experiences and outcomes of rural students are hindered by a host of economic, political, and social forces, which leave them at a clear disadvantage. Expanding and equalizing educational outcomes is not only imperative for China's future development, but also a moral obligation. Chinese policymakers must provide a good quality education for all its citizens in order ensure a decent living.
Statement of Responsibility: by Naushin Jiwani
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2012
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Hernandez, Sarah; Khemraj, Tarron

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2012 J6
System ID: NCFE004604:00001

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i LIMITED ACCESS, POOR SCHOOLING AND HIGH DROP OUT RATES: A REGIONAL COMPARISON OF THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF DIFFERENTIAL EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES IN RURAL CHINA BY Naushin Jiwani A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College o f Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree Bachelor Arts Under the co sponsorship of Dr. Sarah Hernandez and Dr. Tarron Khemraj Sarasota, Florida May, 2012


ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This project could not have been possible without the support and dedication of several individuals. First and foremost, I would like to thank Professor Hernandez who, despite all of the challenges and roadblocks that I encountered this year, she never gave up on me. Her guidance and moral support was at times the only thing that kept me going. I would also like to acknowledge the Chinese Language Department, including Professor Zhu and Zhang for working with me these past 4 years. I never thought that I c ould make it so far in learning as diffi cult and confusing of a language as Chinese. Although I have yet to especially my China Boys for helping me get through it. In China, I would like to thank all those who t me the opportunity to travel to China a nd planting the initital seeds of my thesis topic. In addition, I would also like to acknowledge the Rural Education Action Project (REAP) for teaching me the mechanisms and exposing me to some of peculiarities involved in conducting educational research in China. Last but not least, I would acknowledge the intensive language program at Beijing Langua ge and Cultural University (BLCU) and all the amazing people I met in China. I really had the time of my life and I miss you guys more than anything. I also want to thank my amazing and radical group of friends for their ever lasting love and support. I especially want to thank Eva Gray whose smile and weird, bu t hilarious sense of humor has kept me going. Also, I want to thank the members of SWER and all the student led leaders and organizers who exude a level of commitment, strength, and passion that co ntinues to inspire me. For my econ folks, I would especially to like to acknowledge my few and fellow women economists strong willed. A woman who exemplifies this quality above and beyo nd is the retired Dr. you impacted my life; a lthough dedication to your students and your love of teaching will forever remain. I would also like to thank Professor Khemraj, Professor Hicks, and Professor Cooper for their support, encouragement, and interest in both my academic endeavors but also my growth as an individual. hout my family, especially my brother Zishan, who first introduced to this radical and strange school called New College Your support and encouragement has been such an impo I could never even begin to express my gratitud e. I also want to thank my parents for trusting me and loving me unconditionally. I made it!


iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter One: Introduction ......................................................................................................... 1 The State of Education in Pre Chapter Three: Theories of Education Development and Education: Global Structural Analysis & 8 Part I: Globa Chapter Four: Methodology Chapter Five: Results Independent Variables: An Analysis of Seven Pos sible Factors..64 Chapter 6: Discussion & Conclusion Additional Factors Affecting Educational Outcomes in Rural China...83 Educational Inequality in Rural China: Us ing an Economic, Educational Inequality and China References


iv LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Urban/Rural Education Table 3a and 3b: Per Student Spending in Rural Schools: 68 Table 3c and 3d: Re current Spending (Personnel & Non Table 4a and 4b: Distribution of Extra Table 4c and 4d: Theoretical and Actual Per Student Tuition 74 Table 5: Per Student Capital Expenditures and Per Student Number of Capita Living Expenditures & Ratio of Rural Ta Table 8: Number of Hospital Beds, Percent Spent of Medicine and


v A REGIONAL COMPARISON OF THE CAUSES AND CONSEQ UENCES OF DIFFERENTIAL EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES IN RURAL CHINA Naushin Jiwani New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT The purpose of this study is to analyze the possible causes and consequences of differential educational outcomes in rural China. I offer a bri ef comparative analysis of schooling in the rural eastern region with that of the rural inland regions to show how differences in educational outcomes are reflected in approach and quality among schools situated in rural and underdeveloped localities. Spec ifically, I seek to explore to what extent geography, socioeconomic status, health indicators, and rural youth's perceived benefit and value of schooling help explain educational attainment rates in rural primary and secondary schools. I address this quest ion by examining differences in educational funding and resource utilization, quality of school facilities, per capita rural expenditures educational attainment of the rural labor force, and the availability of health facilities across regions and for the nation as a whole. My analysis highlights the striking differences that exist in both access to and quality of schooling between different populations in China. Educational inequality is a persistent problem in China. The educational experiences and outcom es of rural students are hindered by a host of economic, political, and social forces which leave them at a clear disadvantage. development, but also an ethical obliga tion. Chinese policymakers must provide a good quality education for all its citizens in order ensure a decent living. Dr. Sarah Hernandez Dr. Tarron Khemraj Division of Social Sciences Division of Social Sciences


1 CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION The objective of this study is to examine the factors that help us understand differences in educational outcomes in rural China. Specifically, the study is a comprehens ive assessment of the financial, political and social factors that allow for these inequities to exist and persist. I will rely on economic, sociological, and development theories addressing the relationship between schooling and development. I offer a bri ef comparative presentation of rural inland China with that of rural eastern China. Through this comparison, I highlight the growing regional and urban/rural disparity in the level of development to illustrate the importance of educational expansion for Ch development development project in the context of an opening economy. Significance of the Study Although previous research has analyzed the differences between urb an and rural educational attainment in China and have conducted regional comparative analyses, very few have focused explicitly on differences in outcomes between the inland and eastern rural regions. An analysis of outcomes is important because it can hel p illustrate some of the negative effects of designing policies solely for economic development. This approach has proven to be narrow, as it disregards development as a multidimensional process which includes, but is not limited to, social, cultural, and political development. Focusing explicitly on economic development, as China has done, has created uneven development and has disenfranchised a portion of its population. Moreover, most scholars limit their analysis by examining funding and resources inequities. While funding is a major component, it is not the sole cause or solution to the


2 problem. However, given that there is a growing awareness of the problem; scholars from a number of disciplines have begun to address this question. While funding is a major component, it is not the sole cause or solution to the problem. Rather, a solution to this problem requires a more holistic approach, recognizing not only difference in funding, but also other social factors such as cultural practices, health of the children, and local attitudes toward education. The compounded effect of a growing regional and geographic inequality has left the rural households in inland China the most disadvantaged sector of the Chinese population. Not only do they reside in the least developed region, but they are also located in rural areas, which remain significantly underdeveloped in comparison to their urban counterparts. economic developme nt (Becker, 1964; Barro, 2001; Petrakis and Stamataki s; 2002 Benhabib & Spiegel 1994 ; Schultz, 1961). However, economic development does not always lead to enhanced educational opportunities. A country can be wealthy in conventional economic terms, and yet be relatively poor in terms of the quality of human life (Sen, 1990). Educational expansion has a variety of benefits beyond economic growth. Sen delineates a First, more education can help productivity. Secondly, wide sharing of educational advancement can contribute to a better distribution of the aggregate national income among different people. Thirdly, being better educated can help in the conversion of incom es and resources into various functionings and ways of living. Last (and by no means the least), education also helps in the intelligent choice between different types of lives that a person can lead (p. 55). Enhancing educational opportunities has ben efits that transcend beyond the individual level, and can have positive implications at the community, national, and even the international level. In the context of China, reducing educational inequality and enhancing verall development. However, before discussing future


3 development strategies. A dditionally, I will provide an overview of the changes in educational policies and reforms since the 1978 market reforms. This analysis will help illuminate how government policies, deliberately to some extent, caused these regional and urban/rural dispari ties to continue to subsist. Although the government has recognized this growing disparity and launched a number of development initiatives to circumvent these differences, they remain largely ineffective, as they do not address the root causes of educati onal inequality. Procedure s of the Study The study will offer a brief comparative study of educational outcomes in primary (elementary) and junior secondary (middle) schools between and within regions and for the nation as a whole using 2003 2 variations in the level of development, I chose to divide the country into three regions. Region one includes provinces that tend to be educationally and economically more developed while Region three is considered the least developed and Region two is in between. I calculate the transition ratio from primary to junior secondary level and junior secondary to senior secondary schooling as a proxy for educational outcomes. I analyze seven fa ctors that possibly affect these outcomes: teacher student ratio, per student expenditure, extra budgetary expenditure, quality of schooling facilities, per capita living expenditures of rural households, educational level of rural labor force and per capi ta level of health services. Due to data constraints and limited statistical training, I only offer descriptive statistics and do not examine all the possible factors that affect the educational attainment rate. To rectify the situation, I provide an exten sive and comprehensive review


4 of prior research on the remaining variables including, parental involvement, attitudes and Structure of the Study The thesis is divided into six chapter s, each presenting relevant material to answer the research question. The chapter subsequent to this introduction provides a brief overview of the Chinese educational system since the reform era. In Chapter three, I offer an overview of the relevant social theories; it is divided into three sections, each covering a different discipline, but all of which address education in the larger societal framework. Specifically, this chapter discusses theories that focus on the importance of educational expansion as well as those that discuss how educational inequality is adversarial to a centric in nature, they are still applicable in the context of China. Chapter four explains the methodology used to c onduct the study; moreover, it explains how the data was obtained the lists the variables and why I chose to analyze them. Chapter five presents the findings of the data, providing both an analytical assessment of the testable variable and a brief overview of relevant findings observed by other scholars. The final chapter begins by outlining three additional factors that may influence differential educational outcomes and explains how the theories discussed chapter three apply to the findings of this study. The study concludes by providin g an overview of the challenges surrounding future development.


5 CHAPTER 2: OVERVIEW OF REGIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT In order to understand the factors that have contri buted to educational inequality, it recognize how these policies are linked with regional development patterns. To illustrate this perspective, I begin by offering a brief patterns. These regional trends indicate that not only is regional inequality rising but so is the urban rural divide. In the subsequent section, I focus on exclusively on educational development and begin by outli policies of the Cultural Revolution in the pre reform era to the policies in existence today. Specifically, I describe four key initiatives as outlined in Hannum (1999) overview of educational polic ies, that have led to both educational expansion and unequal access to educational opportunities: educational financial decentralization, nine year compulsory education, curriculum reform, and higher education expansion. I expand upon specific successes an d failures of these reforms by assessing how they have affected social stratification patterns. I conclude by discussing the importance of educational reform in the Regional Development in China extraordinary and transformative growth however, this prosperity and increased welfare has not been evenly distributed throughout the country. By the year 2000, the degree of urban rural income inequality was among the worst in the world. This urban rural inequality directly feeds into the growing regional income inequality. Such high rates of


6 income disparities are only a recent phenomenon. Sin ce the communist revolution and the start of the Mao era through 1986, regional inequality decreased. However, since the 1990s, the trend reversed as inequality across regions rose significantly (Yang, 2002). The ratio of coastal real per capita income to inland real per capita income has been rising steadily since 1991. By 2003, the ratio soared to approximately 2.4 by 2003 Moreover, in the year 2003, the real per capita GDP ratio between the wealthiest and the poorest province was 8.65. In comparison, amo ng the major regions of the United States, the difference, in ratio, between the highest and lowest regional per capita GDP was only 1.3 (Fleisher, Li, and Zhao, 2010). If China continues on its current trend, inequality of wealth distribution will continu e to widen. Improving access and quality of education is one of the most effective ways to lessen these widening inequities (Heckman, 2005). However, as the following section highlights, how CCP initiated educational policies have, either indirectly or d irectly, created educational inequalities or allowed them to persist. Changes in Educational Policy Since the Communist Party took control starting in 1949, the education system has undergone a myriad of changes, particularly between the pre and post re form eras. Political priorities underlying education policy went from an egalitarian socialist approach to education (1949 1978) and moved towards a market driven approach to education (1979 Present). Policies that once reflected equity and equal opportun ities were now designed to ensure efficiency and quality (Hannum, 1999). Educational policies in the reform era, beginning in the late 1970s, led to a number of important policy shift, radically altering the nature and scope of education First, they focu sed on improving the quality of education in order to meet the demands of the labor market, increase economic growth, and make China more competitive in the global market. Second, they shifted the responsibility of financing education from the central gove rnment to county and local governments and individual


7 households. Third, the reforms led to widening disparities in access to, and quality of, education among various social groups (Hannum, Behrman, Wang and Liu as cited in Brandt and Rawski 2007, p. 215). In order to understand these changes, however, we first need to know what the educational policies were prior to reform. The State of Education in Pre Reform China (1966 1978) The Cultural Revolution was a period of chaos and instability. This soci al movement brought a radical political and education agenda to the forefront. In 1966, Mao Zedong initiated a set of policies that revamped the educational system; it was no longer based on meritocracy to determine educational progress, but solely on the bases class background and political ideology (Hannum, 1999). The ideological basis was rooted in eliminating all were four major disturbances in higher education: e limination of entrance level examinations for admission, a complete halt of new enrollment in undergraduate and graduate programs, placing the responsibility of university reform on newly admitted working class and peasant students, and shutting down a num ber of universities. The Cultural Revolution was a detriment to higher education, especially for the science and technology disciplines (Rosen, 1984). Major shifts also occurred in primary and secondary education where the merit based system of dete rmining progress, including tracking and exam scores, was eliminated. Vocational and magnet schools were also shutdown. Furthermore, the curriculum was highly ideological and unified, so essentially all students were taught the same material. Although lit tle empirical research on finance has been completed, policy documents reveal that local communities usually financed schools with the individual household bearing little to no direct cost (Tsang, 2000).


8 The early years of reform saw a number of c hanges: the merit based system of accessing progress was reenacted, a substantial increase in the number of vocational and technical schools, a reinvigoration of higher education, the enactment of the nine year compulsory education law, fiscal decentraliza tion in education, and an increase in the number of teachers and improving the quality of teachers (Tsang, 2000). In the following section, I examine financial and administrative decentralization of education initiatives, followed by brief overview of ref orm policies aimed at improving the quality of education, and finally a look at some of the major changes in educational attainment and participation rates and how they have affected certain disadvantaged groups. Financial and Administrative D ecentraliz ation of Education The 1980s witnessed major reforms in resource mobilization and allocation based on principles of decentralization and diversification. These reforms were part of the greater public finance reform, which decentralized decision making powers from the central government to the provincial and local levels of government. Although the state and provincial governments finance higher education or mange certain key programs they perceive to be important, the majority of money and decision maki ng powers for basic education come from local communities. The reform was also intended to establish a diversified revenue base and mobilize funding from outside sources. Although governmental budgeted funds for education increased from 26.50 billion Yuan in 1986 to 135.77 billion Yuan in 1997, resulting in an average annual increase of 16 percent in nominal terms, the percent of total education funding from government appropriations for education have decreased significantly. At the same time, non bud getary sources of funding, derived from school fees, tuition fees, books fees, and social contributions from individuals and enterprises, have become increasingly important in funding basic education. By 1997, it made up more than half of the education fun ding


9 (Tsang, 2000, p. 14). While the 1985 educational reforms have been successful in mobilizing new sources of funding, it has in fact increased education inequity across China. Because of the growing income disparity across different regions, the capacity of provincial and even county governments to finance education varies substantially. For provinces that are less developed, income has to be increasingly met with non government sources. However, the capacity of these areas to mobilize outside resources is weak in comparison. As a result, provinces in coastal areas and economically well developed are able to obtain more education funding and also are able to obtain additional sources of revenue (Rong & Shi, 2001). Quality of Education Although the overall quality of the education system has improved significantly since the Cultural Revolution, inequality remains between and within provinces. Such inequality is a direct result of the financial reforms that involve education. Many schol ars tend to use per pupil expenditures and class size as indicators of quality (Tsang, 2002; Gustafsson & Li, 2004). Assuming these indicators of quality are accurate, we observe important regional differences in China. To begin, expenditures per pupil are themselves affected by the differences in tax revenue between localities (Hannum, 2003). Trends indicate that although overall spending per capita has increased significantly, the spending gap between provinces has increased. For example, in 2002 the rati o between the lowest and highest per capita spending provinces was approximately 15 percent, while in 2008 that percentage decreased to 9.37 percent. (Qin, 2011 p. 22 23) These ratio changes signify greater variation and a more unequal distribution in spen ding pattern between provinces. According to 2002 UNESCO estimates, the average class size was 34.5 at the primary level and 56.7 at the lower secondary levels (UNESCO, 2005). A greater class size is often


10 detrimental to student participation and perso nalized attention from the teacher, thereby resulting in a lower quality of education. Unfortunately, there is no data to show whether class size differs between regions and between urban and rural sectors in China. However, oftentimes resource rich school s attract a far greater number of students while resource poor schools in sparsely populated areas usually tend to have far less students. Hence, both class size and per capita spending provide a better picture of these internal differences. Another way t o explore how per capita spending is an indicator of quality is to explore the quality of teachers. Although reforms have sought to increase the overall quality of teachers, significant differences remain across urban and rural areas and between we althier and poorer provinces. Most qualified teachers teach in more developed urban areas because of higher wages and better living and working conditions. In some rural areas, teachers and other school personnel have reported a significant delay by local officials in meeting salary obligations due to insufficient funds (Park, Li and Wang, 2003). Reform Efforts Aimed At Equalizing Educational Opportunities Realizing some of the harmful effects of focusing explicitly on improving educational quality a nd not ensuring access, Chinese policymakers singed the Education Law of 1995 as for all citizens. Between 1995 and 2000, the government also launched a massive $1.2 Bil lion education campaign to ensure that children in poor areas have access to basic education (Hannum & Park 2007). This proved largely successful as aggregate illiteracy rate declined 31.9 percent in 1981 to 15.1 percent in 2000. Education reforms have also attempted to broaden educational aims with the establishment of a national curriculum. Following the education reform discourse of the


11 centered on the individual. These educational ideals are generally referred as suzhi jiaoyu promotes freedom of expression and creativity, the main objective of suzhi jiaoyu is to increase national st rength. The Chinese leadership has identified the necessary skills the practical skills and innovative ability are viewed as the most important goals of these refor ms (Guan & Meng, 2007). Even though the suzhi jiaoyu discourse has received popular support by many parents, students and teachers in theory, in practice, however it has been met with widespread resistance. This may be due to deeply embedded Conf ucian education ideals, which emphasized success in examinations as the basis of achieving status and power. Moreover, the traditional rote memorization and recitation teaching techniques still remain in practice today because of problems associated with i mplementing these initiatives; there remains a disconnect between government directives and local realities. While the central government issued the directives, the local authorities are responsible for financing and implementing these reforms. Several loc alities, especially in rural and underdeveloped regions, have complained about insufficient funding and limited support and training from authorities as to how to effectively implement these changes. It is beyond the capacity of these schools to fund such expensive curriculum reforms that require expanding the number of courses and electives offers such as computing, music and arts, and technology without assistance from higher levels of government (Dello Iacovo, 2009; Zhong, 2006) Moreover, there is a ma jor shortage of qualified teachers to teach these courses (Dello Iacovo, 2009, p. 244). Consequently, 80.3 percent of county bureau heads and 69.2 percent of municipal education bureau heads have reported a significant gap between educational resources ava ilable in their area and the mandates issued by the curriculum


12 success including: insufficient funding, conceptual ambiguity, difficulties experienced by educators in applying western centric teaching techniques, and the deeply embedded cultural attitudes towards education and achievement. In essence, the structure of Chinese schools remains unchanged and examinations and rote memorization still dominate the classro om (De llo Iacovo, 2009, p. 249). Examination orientation competition appears to be increasing primarily due to an imbalance between educational demand and supply. Demand for secondary and higher education is fueled by the rise in living standards, the On e Child Policy, and universal access to basic schooling; however, current educational resources are insufficient to meet this demand thereby fueling competition (Wen & Yang, 2005). Moreover, the reforms may in fact perpetuate instead of reduce educational inequality. Schools in rural and underdeveloped areas lack the necessary funds and training to implement these programs. Although the intent of curriculum reformers was to present education as an active agent in promoting economic and social change, the r eality is far from that (Dello Iacovo, 2009). The Chinese educational system has undergone a number changes since 1978 reform era. These changes have led to both rapid educational expansion, but have also led to a widening disparity in educational outcome s both regionally and between urban and rural areas. For example, transferring the responsibilities for financing education led to an increase in aggregate budgets, but also resulted in severe inter and intra provincial inequalities. Poor rural localities have been severely disadvantaged as they often times could not even raise enough funds to cover basic costs. In contrast, wealthier localities could use both budgetary and non budgetary resources to invest in schooling. And while improving the overall qual ity of education made the Chinese labor force more competitive, it also led to greater differences in occupational and income attainments between different


13 members of society. In the following section, I examine how policies have affected various historica lly marginalized groups in Chinese society. It is important to note that while China, as a whole, has largely benefited from these reform policies, these benefits have not been equally distributed across all groups. Changes in Enrollment R ates in the Re form Era Despite rapid expansion of the education system at large, historically disadvantaged groups including: the rural poor, ethnic minorities, girls, and migrants have a monopoly over low enrollment and high dropout rates. Even though the government h as introduced several policy initiatives to improve educational access and equity, the educational gap is growing. In the following section, I analyze how these reforms have affected specific groups by highlighting its strengths and weaknesses in providin g educational access and equity. Then, I briefly examine how educational reforms have created new patterns of social stratification. Gender Many policy debates about educational provision in China have centered on education for girls. Evidence suggests that gender gaps have narrowed in recent years. For example, in 1990, out of the 2.48 million children between 7 and 11 years who did not attend schools, 86.4 percent were girls. More than a quarter of them resided in rural areas of the four poor est provinces: Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai, and Guizhong (Liu & Carpenter, long term security of the parents. Conversely, the daughter is more likely to marry out of the family and is not expected to contribute to earnings. Thus, parents often sacrifice the


14 to assist with housework and fieldwork (Hannum, 2003). Although th ere remains a substantial gender gap in these poor rural areas, in aggregate terms, by the year 2000 women received an average of more than 6.5 years of education in contrast with men who received 8.0 years; the difference of only 1.5 years. Moreover, the margin of increase in attainment rates and the margin of decline in illiteracy rates were higher for women than men (Postiglione, 2004, p. 7). Yet even with the substantial improvements in enrollment rates and years of schooling for girls, women are underr epresented in prestigious universities, face wage discrimination, remain largely confined to certain service sector jobs, and constitute only a small fraction of managerial and executive level jobs. Since the reform era, although women have witne ssed an expansion of their femininity and sexuality, these changes have been accompanied by discriminatory policies in the workforce, feminization of agriculture, skewed mal e/female birth ratio, and a growing expectation to fulfill both work and household responsibilities (Ross as cited in Postiglione, 2004 p. 27) Rural Poor Historically most of the rural peasants were illiterate with little or no formal education; however, policy initiatives proposed by the CCP have been largely successful in reversing these patterns and ensuring access to basic education across in almost all rural areas. Unfortunately, the urban rural education attainment divide is growing and rur al children are falling further behind in years of education. Decentralization of educational finance to the local level has contributed to the growing regional and urban rural educational disparities. Financial decentralization has proven to be par ticularly harmful for schools in rural and underdeveloped regions. These


15 education reforms also had a profound impact on the distribution of public educational expenditures. The decentralized system exacerbates rather than ameliorate financial inequalities in rural education. This is mainly because economic indicators of an area are closely tied to educational investment, and per pupil expenditures (Tsang, 2000). Using data 1990 census data, Connelly and Zheng (2003), found that per capita income at the co unty level had a positive correlation with the likelihood of rural youth enrollment in primary and secondary education. As a result, poor rural areas not only have limited government revenues but their capacity to mobilize outside resources is mea ger. Subsequently, local authorities have transferred a substantial portion of the cost to the household, in the name of tuition and annum, Behrman, Wang and Liu as cited in Brandt and Rawski, p. 241, 2007). Household education spending is a substantial economic burden for poor rural households and parents often report the high costs of schooling as a reason why their children dropped o ut of school (Li & Tsang, 2003). Moreover, most parents in poor households have little or no education and are unable to provide support and guidance for their children. Children in poor households do not have favorable home learning environment, are m alnourished and in poor health, engage in little or no extracurricular activities and have stressful home lives. All these factors contribute to furthering the educational disadvantages of the rural poor. Ethnic Minorities As a whole, minority g roups in China have a substantial economic disadvantage in comparison with the Han ethnic majority. These differences are particularly evident at lower levels of education (Clothey, 2005). Based on data from the 2000 census, whereas only 2 percent of the Han young adult population has received no formal educational


16 training, more than10 percent of minority population has no formal schooling. While 50 percent of the young adult minority population has a primary or lower level of attainment, this number is o nly 28 percent among the Han majority. Much of the educational disadvantages experienced by minority groups are the result of income and spatial inequalities; they are disproportionately represented in underdeveloped and poor rural areas (Hannum, Behrman, Wang and Liu as cited in Brandt & Rawski, 2007, Table 7.4). However, in order to improve access to and quality of education among ethnic minorities, reform initiatives must be designed with regard to local cultural values and practices; however, state init iatives often fail to meet this goal. County, mountainous county in Yunnan Province, where 40 percent of the population is the Yi and Hani ethnic minority. The purpose of the study was to see whether the revised curriculum mandated by the central government was beneficial to poor rural schools. The 2006, p.131). The uniform curriculum institutionalized state ideology and often at the expense of indigenous knowledge and values. The teachers had little knowledge of the local customs or what the rural population needed to be economically viable. Thus, ethnic reject the educational system as an antithesis to their heritage. The evidence suggests that w hile the total enrollments rates among minorities has increased since the reforms, the disparity between Han and ethnic minorities is growing particularly during the junior secondary school transition (Hannum, 2002). While the state has initiated several policies in an attempt equalize educational opportunities among the minority population, they have failed largely because their educational programs do not


17 study examined specific factors associated with school attendance and discontinuance in rural Tibetan schools. The study concluded that although rural families bear no financial costs for sending their children to school, most families still fail to see the bene fit of sending their children to school. Schools are not designed to address the special situation of rural Tibet; they have not helped Tibetans integrate into the market economy but are viewed more as a burden. In general, Tibetans would be more supportiv e of state schooling and even accept some of the hardships and sacrifices involved if they could see a direct link between more schooling and a higher standard of living (Postiglione, Jiao and Gyatso as cited in Postiglione, 2006 p. 75 101). Ethnicity has and continues to shape the social stratification patterns in China. As the economic returns to education increases, the ethnic gaps will most likely increase. While the government has increased education funding in these regions, this is only a partial solution. Unless schooling is linked to cultural values that support improved living conditions, community building, and better jobs, most ethnic minorities will fail to see to the potential benefits of education (Postiglione, Jiao and Gyatso as citied in Postiglione, 2006, p. 99). The current strategy remains detached from the unique economic and cultural Migrants According to the 2000 census, there are roughly 144 million people not living in their r egistered area (Saich, 2007, p. 323). While rural urban migration is increasing and migrant workers have received certain economic benefits, they belong to the lowest social stratum. Often, the urban population and government officials look down upon them Government policies are discriminatory, depriving them of rights and freedoms awarded to urban citizens. They do not have the same access to social services, particularly schools and


18 health facilities, which further separates the migrant population from the larger population. this divide (Kwong as citied in Postiglione, 2006, p. 163). Government policies exclude most migrant children from attending public schools and the few that do attend are often discriminated against. According to a 2001 China New Agency report, only 12.5 percent of migrant children attended school (Kwong as citied in Postiglione, 2006, p. 168). The local government only bears responsibility for educating children with local residential registration. Thus, most migrant parents with little or no financial resources are children to school and see it as something inherently good, most do not have the financial capacity to do so. While a number of migrant schools have sprung up to fulfill this demand, these schools are makeshift schools with limited resources and inadequate facilities. Parents bear all the costs associated with sending their children to these schools even though these schools lack accreditation and are of a much lower standard than their urban counterparts. Moreover, these schools do little to assimilate migrant children into the urban set ting. Migrant children are not given the opportunity to mix with local children and as a result never develop an urban identity. Thus, even while growing and living in urban cities, most migrant children only share a bond with other migrant children and re main isolated (Chen &Liang as cited in Hannum and Park, 2007, p. 117 132.) If the government views education as a public good and wants to ensure that every child has access to basic education, then the central government must eliminate the provisions o f the hukou system that frees the local governments from being accountable in ensuring the well being of migrants (Zhao, 2005). Migrant workers and their children remain largely isolated from the larger population. This divide will continue to grow unless


19 the government initiates legislation to stop migrant discrimination and integrate them into urban societies (Li, 2006). China has had serious difficulty in striking a balance between its social and economic goals. The experience of China illustrates the difficult in achieving rapid economic growth while expanding social opportunities of traditionally disadvantaged groups. While gender disparities in educational attainment appear to be narrowing, differences in enrollment and attainment rates based on so cioeconomic status, place of residence, poor regions compare to the rest of the nation. These groups constitute the basis of unequal access and achievement in China which have become more pronounced with the reforms. Conclusion In the early years of the PRC, educational policies sought to expand basic education nationwide a s a means to institutionalize state ideology and promote economic growth. After the Cultural Revolution, government policies emphasized economic development over egalitarian principles. The education policies have reflected the underlying ideological shif nation. In order to meet its objective, the government expanded technical and vocational schools; invested in science and technology; and built hundreds of new higher education facilities (Hannum 1999). and access to education is uneven ly distributed across the nation. Educational policies have typically favored the urban Han male often at the expense of other groups. The educational system in China has played a role in perpetuating the growing income inequalities in China.


20 In particular financial decentralization has shifted the responsibility of financing education from the central government towards county and local governments and individual households. The more developed regions have successfully mobilized resources to expand and im prove the quality of educational facilities, while less developed regions have suffered given their limited resources. While the government has attempted to mitigate some of harmful effects of these policies, especially for certain disadvantaged s ocial groups, they have only been partially successful. In terms of educational inequalities, while gender gaps appear to be shrinking, differences in enrollment and attainment rates by geographical origin, ethnic makeup, and socio economic status are wide has contributed to the current social stratification patterns. As China becomes more integrated in the international markets, educational credentials will play an increasing role in determining e conomic and social success. Thus, the government must implement policies to ensure that opportunities for education are equally distributed across various social groups not only to ensure economic prosperity, but uphold its socialist ideal of establishing a more equitable society.


21 CHAPTER THREE: THEORIES OF EDUCATION In this chapter, I offer an overview of the economic, sociological, and development literature discussing the role of education in a n Attempting to reach this understanding, scholars have explored both the benefits of educational expansion the harmful effects o f unequal access to educational opportunities ( Hannum & Buchmann, 2005) Some believe that education has the capability to redress societal inequalities ( Parsons, 1959 ) while others believe that enhancing educational opportunities without initiating struc tural reforms to ensure equality in access will lead education to maintain social inequalities ( Bowles & Gintis, 1976; Canroy, 1982; Dale, 1982). begin by first discussing h uman capital theory. T hen I briefly outline some relevant soc iological theories o n education. I conclude by explaining how access to education is now explain the role of international and domestic actors in reshaping the configuration of the global educational system. The universal character o f school ing has it society I ts dominance both as a source for economic development but also as the primary distributer of social and cultural capital has made it one of the most important factors influencing soc ietal structures. The Concept of Human Capital According to human capital theory, human capital the skill of the population plays an important role in explaining differences in productivity levels between both the


22 individual and the national lev el. Nations who invest in their people tend to have higher that yield income in the future and is significantly different from consumptive expenditures, which only provides immediate gratification and does not increase future income (Schultz, 1961). Classical economic analysis of capital referred only to physical capital, mainly equipment machinery and buildings as a means to increase productivity and yield future ea rnings. Furthermore it treated labor as a homogenous unit and did not stratify the labor force based on skill level. However, the inability of physical capital to explain increases in national output in Western societies and the formal conceptuali zation of heterogeneity in the labor force led to an interest in less tangible concepts, including technological advances and human capital. Human capital helped shed light on some important economic problems such as the growing variations in income distri bution, unemployment rates and growth rates between the developed and the developing world. Much of this concern with investment in human capital was sparked by the works of American economists, Theodore Schultz, Jacob Mincer and Gary Becker who have larg Although the human capital theory formally evolved in the 20 th century, a number of prominent economists such as, Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall, John Stuart Mill, H. von Thunen, and Irvin Fisher h ad previously considered issues of human capital. For example, the philosopher economist Adam Smith referred to human capabilities as the primary Furthermore, Sm ith saw education as a way to increase individual productivity, which raised the productive capacity of a factory or other enterprise (Adam Smith, 1776 as cited in Sweetland, 1996, p. 343). Historically, economists avoided defining human investment as cap ital due to the moral and philosophical concerns that arise when human beings are


23 classified as a marketable commodity (Schultz, 1961). However, over time the concept has not only become readily acceptable, but rather has come to dominate the economics of education literature and critically influence the analysis of labor markets and development economics. Conceptualizing Human Capital Theory Jacob Mincer (1958), considered the father of labor economics, developed a model explaining the nature and c auses of inequality in income distribution. The model pointed to differences in occupational training and skills human capital as the main reason for differences in earnings. The early model relied on two important assumptions rooted in neoclassical theor that investment in human capital is based on free choice. The choice refers to variations in the length of training. This model measured both formal and informal training; formal training was measured by amount of education while informal train ing referred to work experience receive higher wages, which compensate the years of work forgone to pursue training. In addition, occupational differences are rooted i n differences in level of training. At the very least, Mincer found that the lifelong earnings of workers with more training equaled the present value of earnings by workers with less training. In terms of work experience, iences accumulated through time results in increased earnings up to a certain age, but begins to decline as age starts adversely affecting worker productivity. However, this decline in income receipts is less evident for occupations that require extensive training; rather, the increase in income flow is more observable (Mincer,


24 1958, p. 301 as cited in Sweetland, 1996, 346). Using occupational groupings to test these differences in earnings, Mincer concluded that absolute differences in amount of tra ining between occupations results in percentage differences in annual earnings. These differences are systematically and the steeper the life r, 1958, p. 288). For example, a lawyer, an occupation that requires a significant amount of training, has a steeper life path of earnings than a paralegal, which requires less training. Intra occupational differences arise when one takes into account wor of the variations in annual earnings for white male adults in the US. Moreover, the rates of return for investment in education are between 5 and 15 percent. However, in light of these po sitive effects, Mincer acknowledged that income variations will continue to exist even if individuals have homogenous abilities and equal opportunities (Mincer, 1958 as cited in Sweetland, 1996, 346). Shultz (1961) proposed a theoretical framewo rk of human capital formation based on the idea that human beings have always and will continue to invest in themselves as a way to expand choices available to them and consequently increase their standard of living. These investments have both private and social returns and can help explain the discrepancy between national output rates and the growth of labor and capital. In the United States, national output increased by 3.1 percent every year between 1919 and 1957, while labor and physical capital grew by only 1 percent. Schultz also pointed to how countries that achieved these high and sustained growth rates also invested heavily in education. Schultz defined human investments along five major categories: (1) health services and facilities; ( 2) on the job training; (3) formal schooling; (4) adult education programs;


25 (5) migration by individuals and families to areas with better job opportunities (Schultz, 1961, p. 9). Although researchers have addressed all these categories to some extent, edu cation and training emerges as the most important human capital investment for empirical analysis. One possible reason could be because education can be measured quantitatively in monetary costs and differentiated across attainment rates. Becker (1974 ) expanded on the theoretical concept by proposing an empirical model that analyzed the rate of return to investment in education and training. The study analyzed income differentials that had accumulated to college and high school graduates in the United States. The analysis is based on the assumption that investments in human capital are generally based on rational calculation of expected costs and benefits. The most important determinant of the amount of monetary and non monetary resources invested in hu man capital will be its profitability, or the rate of return (Becker, 1974, p. 59). The rate of return is a measure of the expected future return of the capital compared with the cost associated with acquiring the asset. The cost benefit analysis shows all the cost and benefits relating to an investment in terms of a single numerical value; the rate of return is the interest rate at which the present discounted value of costs equals the present discounted value of future income (Becker, 1974, p. 60). Becker adjusted the data based on earnings of individuals with different amount of education for other relevant differences between them. The rate of return to an average college entrant is between 10 and 12 percent annum. The rate of return is higher for urban white male college graduates than the rates of college dropouts, nonwhites, and women (Becker, 1994 p. 2 11 ). Generally, college graduates have greater ability than high school graduates based on earnings or education level, heath, and communication skills. Thus, ability plays a greater role in determining earnings of college graduates than it does with those holding only a high


26 school education. transmission of earnings, assets and consumption from parents to children. The parents on on the premise of utility maximization. Furthermore, the model also assumes that endowments are directly transmittable from parents to children. Given these assumptions, if financial constraints did not exist and parents had the opportunity to borrow fu education, then differences in earnings between generations would basically equal the sum of the initial set of endowments (Becker, 197 5 ). Private and Social Returns to Education Becker also devised a model to calculate the private rate of return of investment in education by using education costs and aggregate economic returns on education data, Becker estimated the privat e rate of return to be about 13 percent. A following study by Schultz (1963), also analyzed the private and social returns on total investment and reasoned that private returns would be greater based on the idea that investment in education would higher in crease rate of return alternative investments, while for society at large, it is possible that investment in education may yield lower return than other forms of investment. Critics and Alternative Approach to Human Capital Theory Although the h uman capital theory is widely accepted, there have been a number of criticisms posited by economists and other social science researchers. Economists have questioned the legitimacy of the theory, questioning both its methodological approach and the theoret ical assumptions upon which it is based on (Collins, 1971; Bowles and Gintis, 1971; Benson, 1978). Among sociologists, two important critiques of human capital theory


27 include Bowles and Gintis (1971) who directly attacked the notion of human capital and Co occupational structure. In the following section, I discuss these two perspectives in more detail. Brief Criticisms: Methodological and Ideological in Nature From a methodological standpoint, Benson (1978) provided a clear insight on the underlying assumptions and statistical mechanisms that formed the basis of the human capital theory. He questioned the validity of two basic assumptions that the theory rests on: the idea that education increases skills and knowledge, thereby increasing worker the link between educational attainment and worker productivity except in the case of the certain highly skilled professions and highlighted how conventional human capital analysis underestimates the effects of on the job training on worker productivity. According to Benson, wage differentials do not always reflect differences in performance, but may simply reflect the value that employers place on education credentials. Moreover, the national data used often omit external costs and benefits including qual ity of life, attributes and social valuations. These factors are often hard to quantify, but not including them has created theoretical inconsistencies especially when attempting to ascertain optimal level of educational investment. Another import ant critique of the human capital approach came from Randall Collins (1971) who analyzed the reasoning behind a rise in educational attainment requirements for employment opportunities in industrial societies, particularly in the U.S. Analyzing both the te chnical functional theory and conflict theory to address these changes. The technical functional theory states schooling requirements reflect changes in the


28 demand for greater skills due to technological innovation and that formal education provides either the general or specific skills necessary for these new high skilled jobs. In contrast, conflict theory states that employment requirements reflect the efforts of opposing status groups to dominate certain jobs by imposing a set of cultural standards as part of the selection process. He discredits the notion that the rise in education can be attributed to changes in occupational structure caused by a decline in low skilled jobs and an increase in high skilled jobs. Moreover, he shows how educated employee s are not necessarily more productive, but basis this assertion on the findings of a few studies. However, what this critique does is highlight the need to understand the occupational structure that manifests in the workforce and its role in explaining the link between education and employment. Using a variety of different studies, Collins demonstrates how education is a means for employers to select individuals who have been socialized in the dominant status culture. Competing status groups control the sel ection process by hiring employers that fit certain parameters. The role of the school is to teach particular status cultures. Therefore, the type of education one receives reflects his membership in a particular status group. Thus, the limited scope of h uman capital theory fails to see how making power dictate employment opportunities. Bowles and Gintis (1974) critique stems from a Marxian theory of the capitali sm firm. Human capital theory, by limiting its analysis on individual preferences and individual abilities, it completely excludes the notion of class and class conflict in explaining the labor and capitalist organizational structure. By limiting the theor etical approach to a purely technical process, it fails to take into account the societal relations of production. Production constitutes both a conversion of raw materials into products and the sciousness into worker with


29 production process is dependent on how the enterprise is structured and controlled. A lely on his/her technical skill set, but by a number of ascriptive attributes including race, sex age, and ethnicity. These attributes are used to divide and fragment a workforce, which reduces the likelihood of workers of joining coalitions and posing a t hreat to the power dynamics of the firm. Since its official establishment in 1960, human capital theory has dominated the education and development agenda. Its ability to evolve and remain relevant reflects its strengths both theoretically and empirica lly. Although the theory has been empirically tested and validated, it still has a number of issues. On a theoretical level, human capital is based on neoclassical economic assumptions that often fail to take into class and class conflict (Bowles and Ginti s, 1975). Commodifying labor and analyzing individual decision making processes in a purely technical manner provides only a partial assessment of the labor and production processes. There continues to be limited discussion addressing the role of power and Moreover, the basic assumptions and the methodological tools used still remain problematic. For example, human capital is unab le to explain the presence of the diploma effect or how the increase in educational attainment cannot be explained solely on the basis of the rise in demand for high skilled labor. Even with its shortcomings, it still remains an important not only in econo mics, but other fields as well. Sociology of Education: Theories of Educational Equality and Inequality Sociologists have long theorized and analyzed the role of education in explaining and influencing the larger structure of society. While the foundat ion of sociology of


30 education started with an explicit focus on American and European educational systems, the discipline has expanded globally as education around the globe has taken on a more universal and compulsory character. While the earlier literatu re approached schooling and society from a more Durkheimian and positive symbiotic relationship, the field witnessed a drastic shift in the early 1970s with a much more critical outlook, examining how schooling, despite purportedly promoting equality in re ality can fail to actually redress social inequalities. In the following section, I begin by analyzing the earlier structural functionalist argument concerning sociology of education; I then move towards the meta analytical arguments that delineate the sch dominant social order. In the final section, I discuss the more contemporary sociology of education literature, which casts schools both as reproducers of inequality and apparatuses of production. Structural Functionalist Tradition In its early years, the sociology of education literature was heavily influenced by Durkheimian ideas of social order, social solidarity, and social cohesion. The concepts led to combination of various social systems, each playing a distinctive yet interdependent role in ensuring a smooth functioning of society. The relationship between this societal structure and how schools attitudes and norms and how it prepared them for their future economic and social roles. These based on principles of meritocracy. Meritocracy can be problematic and disrupt the smooth functioning of society because it leads to unequal rewards based on different leve ls of achievement. However, the problems meritocracy creates can be remedied by the presence


31 of a collective set of values, shared by both the school and the family. The school socializes a set of norms and behavior practices, essential for achieving so cial and economic goals, designed to benefit both the individual and society at large. According to the functionalist perspective, schooling prepares individuals, through training and socialization, to fulfill their assigned labor roles. The stratificatio n that occurs within essence, the modern school offers a way for individuals to develop the necessary cognitive and social skills to achieve economic and social mo and other ascriptive characteristics no longer determine have to determine his/her success; (Parsons, 1959, p.302). The aforementioned tenants of the functionalist perspective are rooted in liberal educational theory, which has dominated U.S. educational policy for over a century. Liberal reformers describe education notion that the schooling functions as a mechanism of meritocracy capable of guaranteeing education to gain social mobility and advance their life opportunities. However, the notion that education is correlated with social equality has been extensively criticized both on a theoretical as well as empirical grounds. The criticisms lie in the inab ility of this theory to provide a complete description of how education functions. While it does describe certain aspects of schooling, it fails see the connection between education and the larger economic, political, and social conflict, which exist in so ciety. These shortcomings have left several scholars to address schooling in the larger social and economic context and have led to the development of a number of theoretical assessments in direct opposition with the technical functional approach. This se t of literature addresses


32 the innate structural flaws of the education system as it is designed not to reduce but reproduce inequality. There are multiple theories that address the reasons and mechanism by which scho ols reproduce inequalities. These theories attempt to describe how educational institutions, processes and experiences are both shaped by and contribute to wider societal relations and experiences. The premise is based on the notion that education cannot l ead to more equitable society if the society is inherently unequal. The reality is that schools do not provide equal opportunities to all students but merely reflect the unequal structures of society. There is stratification in educational opportunities de signed to maintain the structure of dominance in society. Thus, one cannot analyze education independently, but must examine how it relates to class, race, gender and the distribution of economic and cultural capital (Apple, 1979). The various scholars di ffer in assessing how the system of unequal power is maintained and recreated and why is this form of inequality accepted. All these theories view schools as institutions of economic and cultural reproduction. Schools provide the most organized outlet fo r the maintenance of control by dominant social privileged class to maintain their control. Schools serve as a sorting mechanism to ensure that individuals are so cialized with the dominant status culture (Collins, 1971). Economic Reproduction Theory Early critiques of schooling are derived from a Marxian class based approach by analyzing the role of education in the reproduction of capitalism (Bowl es & Gintis, 1976; Canroy, 1982; Dale, 1982). This theory focuses on the relationship between education and the individual or class composition of the occupational structure, and economic control. Schools reproduce the social relations of production and th e control and division of labor. Schooling in Capitalist America (1976) provide an in depth


33 analysis of this theory by presenting a model which examined educational reform as a of changes changes determine the ways in which schooling reproduces relations of production. The relationship between education and the economic sector must be traced through al behavior and personality it reinforces in Essentially, schools not only produce the technical and the cognitive skills capitalist enterprises demand from their workers, but it also socializes people to acc ept, as legitimate, their narrowly defined roles in society. Bowles and Gintis (1976) argue that schools in working class neighborhood teach young people to be docile and obedient by mandating rote memorization and recitation teaching techniques. In contra st, students attending elite schools are taught the necessary skills to work in managerial and professional fields. These students are taught to be autonomous and independent learners. As a result, the dominant class continues to maintain economic power by using their educational credentials to preserve their high status. The stratified system and its effects are legitimated through the promotion of a meritocratic system. Therefore, economic inequality is viewed as an accepted since individuals have differe nce capabilities and poverty is a result of innate personal failings. Cultural Reproduction Theory Instead of the relatively abstract macro level theoretical approach, cultural reproduction theorists are concerned with the microstructures o f social and cultural practices and how they interact with macro structures and individual consciousness. The device in the reproduction of a hierarchical and unequal society. Schools enable the dominant groups to impose their understandings and viewpoints as legitimate. Therefore,


34 the students belonging to dominant groups are at an advantage because they possess the dominant cultural forms. The notion of cultur al capital is largely associated with Bourdieu (1977 ; Bourdieu & Passerson, 1977) who develop a model to show how cultural reproduction plays a vital role in the reproduction of the whole social system. More specifically, Bourdieu was concerned with how th e educational system and family By lin king the interactions between the pedagogical practices of schooling and cultural practices of families and students in the reproduction of inequalities, the analysis illuminates how the full range of competing interests and struggles produce certain speci fic educational formations. The premise is based on the notion that the knowledge and culture taught in formal educations institutions is essentially arbitrary in its content and in its form 1986, p. 13). This imposition is defined as a form of symbolic violence an instrument of domination that u & Passerson p.4, 1986). Similar to the economic capital analysis, which reflects the notion individuals who have a clear advantage. Cultural capital d efined broadly as habits, tastes attitudes preferences, and language is not evenly distributed across the society and is determined primarily by the power structures entrenched within the society. At the micro level, the role of cultural capital in facilit ating academic success can be seen when analyzing student


35 participate in elite status cultures, give them more attention and special assistance, and (DiMaggio, 1982, p. 190). Thus, students who possess the correct endowments of cultural cap ital have an easier time navigating through the rules and regulations of the school system and can attain the highest educational levels (Di Maggio, 1982). Overall, the cultural reproduction theory suggests that schooling is the mechanism that maintain s the dominance the privileged groups through a seemingly neutral and taken for consciousness and society as a whole. The rules that dictate social behavior and the mo ral compass are passed down from the macro economic and political structures to the micro level through educational process, family structures, and work experience. Through this process, the individual develops his perception of how society functions and h is/her role in the social order. It is in reality a false consciousness because it serves to maintain the interests of the dominant class (Apple, 1982). Al though cultural reproduction theory moves beyond an economic class based approach to include the role of culture in reproducing inequality, it views the school as a passive agent in the reproduction of the dominant social order. Post structuralists move be yond this notion to show that schools not only transmitters of cultural values but are active agents of social reproduction (Giroux, 1980). Post Rejecting the universalistic and deterministic characte ristics of earlier theories, the new sociology of education starts with trying to understand the communicative and symbolic patterns of interaction that help define the social order. Human beings are not


36 passive actors, but active agents that constantly at tempt to shape and redefine their existence. In addition, it focuses on the schooling process and the day to day dynamics of classroom life. In this sense, school knowledge, classroom social relationships, and the evaluation processes are social constructs The theoretical foundation is based on the premise that, in order to understand the ultural reproduction of the dominant social order, are serve an ideological function. Knowledge is not a ause what is taught is selected from all available knowledge. The different soci al, economic, and cultural groups. Schools distribute the knowledge that serves the interests of those in power while the knowledge that groups with limited or no economic power is often omitted in the curriculum. Thus, schools have a dual function. Not o nly do they distribute knowledge unevenly across different groups, but also select and teach particular forms of knowledge. By teaching a particular form of knowledge, schools give it legitimacy. It is served as absolute and unquestioned facts. This u neven distribution of knowledge is facilitated by the employment of curricula maintain the interests of the dominant class. These interests are reinforced in the cla ssroom where the privileged groups are taught a certain set of skills that will maintain their position of power; however, this knowledge is withheld from all other groups (Anyon, 1981). found that, despite all schools having similar curriculum and textbooks, the curriculum in working class


37 schools focused on fragmented facts, mechanized and routinized tasks. The classroom permeated a hopeless attitude filled with teachers and students hav ing low expectations. In contrast, the curriculum in middle schools focused on problem solving and offered an inquiry based approach to learning. Teachers are the nexus of curriculum implementation. Thus, the day to day interactions between the teacher and the student are determined what is taught in the classroom and how students perceive and interpret this knowledge. The educators teaching style is based a common set up assumptions that are based on a set of socialized norms that reflect the unequal st ructures of society. The knowledge that is acquired is rooted in a set of ideological underpinnings that reflect the need to maintain the unequal structure of society (Apple, 2004). Essentially, the knowledge a student receives largely determined his/her position in the social order. The new sociology of education departs from the mega narrative theoretical approaches to examine schools functions as active agents processing and producing certain forms of knowledge. Thus, but by teaching a certain set of me anings and values that reflect this dominant culture, school functions as not only the distributors of cultural values and norms, but also help shape this ideological perspective. Although western centric in nature, the sociology of education litera ture can help explain the embedded paradox of the Chinese educational system. While rural schools provide the only viable option for rural students to attain upward social mobility, they are designed in such a way that they ensure the dominant structure re main intact. I explore these parallels in greater detail in Chapter five, and demonstrate how schools in fact both reproduce existing social inequalities but also how these schools are in and of themselves an apparatus of production.


38 Development and Edu cation : Global Structural Analysis & Internal Assessment Despite the debate on educational expansion and stratification among various academic disciplinary fields, governments and development agencies worldwide consider educational expansion to be able to facilitate numerous positive changes both on the individual and national level. In the following section, I begin by first outlining how this universally accepted belief came to be accepted, followed by a brief overview of commonly prescribed assumptions and consequences of education expansion for social and economic development. This set of analyses will help demonstrate how the assumptions that most governments, including China, ascribe to is not backed by consistent empirical evidence. Part I: Global Structural Analysis There has been substantial literature assessing how global actors and national policies have altered both the demand for education and the supply and structure of schools. In doing so, these macro structural forces have greatly influenced the educational and economic opportunities available on a global scale. The convergence of education policies, principles, and even practices across different nations highlight the universalization of educational norms. Both the development of t he modern nation state and the formation of international development organizations have expanded the role and importance of education in both economic and social development. The Role of the S tate in Education Most theorists agree that the state p lays a central role in determining educational opportunity as it is largely responsible for designing the structure of the educational system. Most developing nations use education in an effective yet paradoxical way. While on the one hand, the state rheto ric promotes education as a social good available to all individuals, on the other hand, the state does not allocate adequate funding or resources to


39 public education. The poorest members of society often experience the lowest quality of education. The rhe legitimacy and ideology while the reality often reflects a series of short term solutions that do not deal with structural factors that perpetuate educational inequality (Stromquist, 2 006, p.967 968). The varying nature and efficacy of state educational policies are dependent on a multitude of different factors including the availability of economic and organizational resources, international forces, and the effectiveness of local actor s to implement these policies. However, most governments view education as serving a two fold purpose. First, from an economic perspective, education and training leads to economic growth and increases global competitiveness. From an institutional perspect ive, education can serve as an instrument for nation building by inculcating students with certain values that will guarantee their commitment to the nation. (Green, 2006, p. 195). Globalization and Comparative Education The early 1990s witnessed a dramatic shift in the ways in which micro and macro variables interacted to help explain the workings and outcomes of education systems. The development of the computer and other telecommunications technologies changed the distribution patterns of both g oods and services. As a result, these new patterns of global economic and world order have caused earlier theories to reassess their analysis to fit the changing world order. Conroy and Rhoten (2002) bring to the forefront how globalization is perceived a also focused on the way in which different states and its actors respond to globaliz ation. While some states have largely been accepting, others have hesitated and even resisted. The position of a country is determined, to at least a certain degree by the power and position it holds in the global economy. This position is largely based on


40 capacities, and the extent of political and ideological influence it has over the rest of the world (Arnove, 2009, p. 110). International development agencies and professionals, the major distributors of the education and development blueprint, now dominate the broader ambit of educational systems across the world. The development policies issued by these actors and networks are largely determined by swings in the global economy such as the rise in demand for a particul ar skill set or technology. The implementation of structural adjustment policies and the neoliberal agenda has caused a major restructuring of educational systems across the world. The most important and lasting change is the decline in state financed educ ation (Arnove, 2005). In addition, the integration of market logic and technocratic rhetoric has been introduced in the design and implementation of educational policies. In general, the processes with which schooling are being evaluated have shifted from a utility to efficiency approach (Arnove, 2005). These policies have been geared towards meeting a certain set of economic objectives. The previous goals of creating national unity and developing an informed citizenry have become secondary or aft er thoughts. Special emphasis was placed on increasing the efficiency of education initiatives by using cost/benefit analysis to evaluate these efforts. Policies that improved the quality of education were heavily favored over those that focused on increas ing accessibility to all members of society. Moreover, ironically enough, while market forces were left to deal with financing education, states also reined tighter controls over the curriculum content and evaluation. In essence, the current model promulga ted the state to set national educational goals and policies, but left it up to the local governments to figure out the means to do so. It is also important to emphasize that these national goals often conflicted with the needs of the locale. By limiting the autonomy of educational institutions and promoting the convergence and standardization of the


41 curriculum, these goals have adversely affected the knowledge and talent pool (Welch, 2000). Educational systems across the globe are now promotin g a set of policies including privatization, decentralization, standardized curriculum, and testing which are all top down initiatives. Although there are a growing number of grassroots initiatives aimed at rectifying some of the disastrous outcomes result ing from these initiatives, these efforts are constrained because of limited funding and resource capacities. Although the state continues to shape the structure and rhetoric of its education system, the growing importance of development agencies and p rofessionals in shaping educational policies, principles, and practices across the globe have drastically altered the economic and social opportunities available for various members of the global population. Moreover, current trends indicate that these lin kages, between international organizations and national governments, will become even stronger. However, in order to understand these links, it is imperative to assess how the NGOS and other agencies perceive this education and development paradigm and dis cuss in detail some of the specific policies that they advocate. In the following section, I examine and discuss these issues by looking at six assumptions that development agencies and other international actors make about the perceived benefits of educat ion. Part II: Education and Development: Internal Assessment In the post World War II era, a positive relationship between education and economic, political, and social development is a widely accepted belief across much of the world (Chabbott & Ram irez, 2000). In the development discourse, educational expansion is thought to lead to a number of positive changes both for the individual and the nation as a whole. Improving universal access to education has several purported benefits: an


42 improvement in individual welfare and national economic development, a reduction in economic and social inequalities, higher life expectancy rates, and more positive political values and attitudes (Hannum & Buchmann, 2005). Education For All (EFA) has be come an increasingly important feature of the blueprint for development. This widely accepted phenomenon is often presented using two important rationales. The first, based on principles of human capital theory, presents education as an investment, which will lead to an increase in individual and national productivity. Since the end of the 1950s, the education economic growth idea has become the basis of educational policies in both developed, as well as developing countries. The second rationale prescri bes education as a human right and is considered a basic component of wellbeing. Education is seen as the primary mechanism for individuals to improve their lives and become active participants in their societies. By framing education as a right, it is li nked to notions of justice and equality. The right to education was first introduced in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948, and since then has been reinforced in a numerous conventions, declarations, and international conferences asso ciated with education. According to EFA literature, education has three distinct benefits: the intrinsic (improving the quality of life via educational development itself), the instrumental the positional (creating more equal opportunities relative to other members of the society) (McCowan, 2010, p. 520). Linking educational expansion to positive economic and social development is reflected in both national policies and international discour se. Conversely, a growing number of social science researchers are recognizing educational expansion is not the panacea for eradicating all the problems associated with underdevelopment. There are a number of gray areas in the education for development mod el. (Chabbott & Ramirez, 2000) Although there


43 is a growing awareness to the fact that the educational systems in less developed societies are strikingly different than industrialized societies, developing agencies not only claim similar benefits of educat ional expansion for economic and social development but often prescribe blueprint solutions to achieving educational expansion. Developing countries often face a different set of challenges including, lower levels of economic growth and development, less i nstitutionalized educational systems, less resources available for educational investment and occupational and class structures (Hannum & Buchmann, 2001). In the following section, I provide an overview of the empirical and theoretical resear ch focusing on education and development in the developing world. Specifically, I focus on educational stratification and its effects on socioeconomic development. Such a re view can help shed light on the inconsistencies between these accepted assumptions and empirical evidence. According to Hannum & Buchmann (2005), there are five interconnected claims by development agencies regarding the benefits of educational expansion for development. 1. Based on modernization and human capital theory, the notion that education is crucial component for achieving economic growth on macro level. 2. At the micro level, educational expansion increases human capabilities by 3. Educational expansion enhances equality of opportunity, which in turn, reduces social and economic inequalities. 4. Nations with more educated populations have higher life expectancy rates, lower fertility and infant mortality rates. 5. The more educated the population, the greater the sense of efficacy and the greater the le vel of awareness and participation in the political process (p. 334). These ser ve as the basis of my analysis. Human Capital and Economic Development Even though scholars disagree whether there is a positive relationship between ec onomic growth and educational expansion, the evidence does indicate that countries with higher per capita GNP rate levels have more educated people than countries with lower


44 GNP rates (Hannum & Buchmann p. 334. 2005). Moreover, differences in enrollment ra tes between rich and poor countries are greater at the secondary and tertiary levels. Several studies have used human capital to explain growth and differences in the level of economic development between nations (Becker, 1964; Barro, 2001; Petrakis and Stamatakis; 2002 Benhabib & Spiegel 1994; Haveman et al. 2003, Martin, 1997; Schultz, 1961). Human capital not only increases worker productivity but also influences other l institutional structure, infrastructure development, ability to absorb technological shifts and business c technological progress is correlated with its educational levels. An extensive study conducted by Barro (2001) also demonstrated a positive correlation between schooling and per capita growth rate using data from over 100 countries. A more recent study by Cohen and Soto (2007), using Organization for Economic Coo peration and Development (OECD) database on enrollment rates and UNESCO surveys from 1960 2000 time period, also found a positive relationship between schooling and growth levels both in the short run and long run. Some scholars have questioned the validit y of this linkage often citing methodological flaws such as measurement error and time frame limitations. For example, a number of labor market economists have criticized the degree to which wages accurately represent worker productivity. Moreover, it is also As a result, a number of studies found little or no evidence between sc hooling and growth levels. Another more recent study by Lindahl & Canton (2007), found no link between


45 concluded that education levels are not accurate pre dictors of national growth levels. One possible explanation for these inconsistent findings is equated to the inability of the market to create more productive jobs for its higher educated workers. Thus, if the market is static and unable to create new opp ortunities, education serves only to fill vacant jobs (Hannum & Buchmann, 2005). Another possible explanation for these findings may be due to the fact Thus, second ary and higher levels of education may have a greater impact in MDCs than in LDCs (Petrakis & Stamatakis, 2002). Education and Individual Welfare There is substantial literature that demonstrates a positive relationship between an educational level and worker productivity. However, there is substantial variation between countries and within countries as determined by gender, ethnicity, and levels of schooling. A number of studies have taken into account potential biases including ab ilities, preferences, and socioeconomic factors. Sabot and Knight (1990) study controlled for cognitive achievement to assess the effect of education on earnings. Using data from Kenya and Tanzania, the authors founds that the direct return to cognitive s kills, as measured by literacy and numeracy are large while the returns to years of education are moderate (Sabot & Knight, 1990, p. 77). Another study by Psacharopoulos and Velez (1992) had similar results using survey data of 2,100 workers in Bogota, Co lo mbia. Their analysis showed a positive relationship between earnings and education even after controlling for ability. The effects of education on earnings vary based on a number of contextual factors, some of which cannot be measured empirica lly. One factor could be a link between a education in China are lowest in poor and rural areas. These areas are largely agrarian and


46 experience high levels of povert y and non enrollment rates (Hannum, 2003). The locals, generally do not highly value education; this may be partially due to the lack of and access to non relative to the l while the average returns to schooling have declined slightly, the average schooling years have increased. This has in turn affected the labor market value of different levels o f education. For example, in the U.S., given that average level of education has increased in the last half century, a high school education no longer has the same value as it did in the pre WWII era. The ratio of wages for c ollege educated workers to hig h school educated workers has continuously risen since the 1940s, except for a slight decline in the 1970s. At the same, the private rate of return and supply of college educated workers has increased (Johnson, 1997, p. 43). While most research ers agree that the level of education positively impacts an of the community (Psacharopoulos & Patrinos 2004). While the evidence suggests some support for spillover benefits, it still remains indefinite. This may be due to the inability of researchers to quantify these benefits. However, one benefit that has been consistently positive across a number of national and comparative studies is the role of maternal literacy mortality, but als o a Kambhampati and Pai (2001) study of gender differences in child schooling in rural West sons. In a Mexican case study, LeVine et al (1991) found that maternal education level was a predictor of fertility and child survival rates in both urban and rural settings. Most social science literature alludes to the fact that level of education positively


47 methodology and the inability of empirical models to consider contextua l factors in their opportunities. While the returns to schooling are affected by the quality of education and the average years of schooling of the given population, both the su pply of and demand for education is growing across in both developing and developed countries. Education and Inequality of Opportunity While education has expanded rapidly in the last century, educational inequality is also on the rise in most developed and the developing world. Educational expansion alone privileged groups (Walters, 2000, p. 254,). Even educational expansion accompanied by reforms designed to equalize educ ational opportunities may not reduce educational equality. Shavit and Blossfeld (1993) conducted a study comparing the effects of socioeconomic background on educational attainment in 13 industrialized countries over several decades. The authors found tha t, in 11 out of 13 countries, educational inequality among social classes remained stable despite efforts by many of these countries to make educational opportunities more egalitarian. A number of sociological studies have shown how the elites in society will maintain their status quo by ensuring that their level of education supersedes that of the masses (Collins 1971, Halsey et al, 1980). Although school expansion can improve educational attainments for disadvantaged groups in absolute terms, i t may not eliminate the relative advantages that elites have over the masses (Walters, 2000). Thus, often policy initiatives that are intended to improve access to education allow the dominant group to increase their access to the highest levels of educat ion and in turn maintain their comparative advantage. While, it may appear that disadvantaged groups have greater educational opportunities


48 than they did before, the elites maintain their advantage by ensuring their access to the highest levels of educatio n. Gender Inequality One area in education where global and national efforts have made significant gaps. With the exception of the Middle East and North A frica and South Asia, both access to and quality of education has improved for female students (Klasen & Lamanna, 2009). Most of the literature analyzing gender inequalities in education either approach it from a well being and moral perspective or take an instrumental and equity approach. While the first group discusses the harmful effects of gender inequality from an ethical and moral standpoint, the latter group focuses on how gender inequality affects other development outcomes, particularly economic growth. From an economic perspective, female education can lower fertility rates, reduce child mortality rates and promote the creation of human capital of the next generation. Moreover, expanding female education can increase the average amount of human capital in will not only enhance economic growth but has various other societal benefits as well (King, Kalsen, and Porter, 2008). However, female gains in educ ation are not always reflected in income and employment gains. In the case of Israel and South Africa in the 1980s, despite substantial increases in educational opportunities for women, women continually lagged behind men along occupational and income line s (Mickelson, Nkomo, and Smith, 2001). The persistence of gender inequality in certain nations despite rising educational levels can be attributed to cultural and institutional variables that must be incorporated in order to understand the complexities of gender educational inequality. Educational attainment is shaped by global and national macrostructures, and community and family


49 the authors found that cultural beliefs and attitudes have a significant impact on education. be confined to the household strongly reduces the likelihood of girls finishing junior high school (Ra nkin & Aytac, 2006, p. 37). Overall, although educational expansion is beneficial for both dominant and less privileged groups, it alone cannot result in a more egalitarian society. While differences in educational levels do contribute to difference s income and occupational levels across social groups, a number of other contextual factors, outside of education also play a role (Hannum & Buchmann, 2005, p. 341). Education and Health Variables Research indicates that there are important linkag es between education and health, education, especially girls, is correlated with higher life expectancy rates and lower death rates (Hannum & Buchmann. 2005 p. 342). E ven when taking into factors, including remains. Women with more education are better able to obtain the knowledge or health services that they need and act accordi ngly. Better educated mothers are also more knowledgeable about preventive health measures and more likely to adapt these measures education and fertility transition using survey data of over 5000 residents in rural Nepal. long term contraceptive use in adulthood independent of a number of factors including whether she or even her husba nd attended school (Axinn & Barber, 2001). Schooling can thus provide women with the general tools and skill set necessary to


50 make informed decisions about their own health and that of their children. These individualized rewards are translated into larg er social and economic benefits, which are then injected back into the household. Thus, the circular patterns of schooling and health highlight the far reaching effects of education on both macro and micro factors (Axinn & Barber, 2001). Political Partic ipation and Education Education is considered as one of the factors affecting political democratization. Two theoretical perspectives have largely shaped the discussion linking education and democratization. The modernization literature on educatio n and political development emphasize the role of education in providing the necessary tools for individuals to become informed about the political process. This in turn, creates a desire for citizens to participate in the political decision making process The expansion of mass education socializes the polity to internalize democratic norms and principles. One critique of this perspective is that it assumes a linear relationship between educational expansion and political development (Benavot, 1996). The second perspective offers a different view on the processes that link education and democratization. The institutionalists provide a macro level analysis on how schooling and educational expansion impact political development. Educational systems ar e perceived as a part of the larger social and political structures of society. They contribute in creating and legitimizing highly institutionalized social roles. These social roles are determined, to a certain extent, by the level of educational attainme nt (Meyer & Rowan, 2006). Thus, in the process, education not only directly affects the individual but society as a whole.


51 Conclusion The widely held notion that educational expansion is the panacea for all development related problems is not supported by empirical evidence. Using Hannum and Bu study as the theoretical framework, this section analyzes the impact of educational expansion on economic, social, and political development. One finding is clear: the consequences of schooling and expansion are dependent on a variety of outside factors that determine the degree and longevity of these effects. Some of the variables include the degree of state capacity, initial level of development, the level of international influence, and cultural and historical factors. However, empirical evidence does point to two assumptions that have been validated by empirical analysis: the positive impact of education on health and its effects on increasing future economic opportunities at the ind ividual level. The other hypotheses have yielded resul ts contrary to the conventional beliefs of development agencies. Of particular importance is the idea that educational expansion will lead to a reduction in social inequalities in the short term. Alth ough expansion provides absolute benefits for the most marginalized groups in societies, it does not narrow the inequality gap between advantaged and disadvantaged groups. Often times, there are major differences in the degree and quality of education betw een the elite and marginalized groups. The other two assumptions are problematic in their core as they try and link education expansion with broad er macro level goals. Both the economic and political development hypotheses assume that since expa nsion and schooling can have positive impacts at the individual level, then these benefits can translate at the national level. Although education can help facilitate economic and political development among certain groups or even in certain groups, the le vel of impact is context specific. The diverse social contexts of local communities must be considered and integrating in the design and


52 implementation strategies. The attempt to universalize educational policies across the world has caused a number of s hort term and possible long term problems. One such problem is attempting to draw inferences or make predictions applicable to all countries and situations have largely failed. Educational expansion should be seen as one of the many important factors for s ocial and economic development and not as the panacea for all development ills. How these assumptions play out in the context of China will be explored in greater detail in Chapter 6.


53 CHAPTER FOUR: METHODOLOGY A s noted in the prev ious chapter, China has experienced rapid educational expansion, yet this expansion has not been accompanied by effective strategies to redress educational inequalities. China has paid little attention to the struggles of disadvantaged students who must ov ercome obstacl es including limited financial resources and poor primary and secondary schooling. Through my research I seek to explore to what extent geography, socioeconomic status, and health indicators explain the transition ratio of primary school grad uates to junior secondary entrants and junior secondary school graduates to senior secondary school entrants. To address this question, I analyze differences in educational funding and its utilization, quality of school facilities, per capita rural income educational attainment of rural labor force, and availability of health facilities. Data I offer a brief comparative study of educational outcomes between and within he level of development, I chose to divide the country into three regions. Region 1 includes provinces that tend to be more developed, educationally and economically. Region three is the least developed and Region two is somewhere in between. I chose to ex clude Hainan and Tibet from my analysis because of lack of data. Provinces in Region one are mostly concentrated in coastal areas and include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Shandong, Tianjin, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Hebei and Fujian. Provinces in Regio n 2 level of development and are located in the central inland part of China. Eight provinces constitute Region 2 : Shanxi, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Henan, Hubei, and Hunan. Region 3 has some of four minority autonomous regions: In ner Mongolia (Mongolian), Guangxi (Zhuang) Ningxia (Hui Muslim) and Xinjiang (Uygur), one municipality: Chongqing, and five inland lesser developed provinces: Guizhou, Yunan, Gansu and Qinghai and


54 Shaanxi. Due to limited data and limited stati stical training, I will not conduct a regression analysis instead providing descriptive statistics. The goal of the data analysis is to shed light on basic education in rural China and how it differs and compares across and within regions. This study uses data from three statistical yearbooks: Chinese Educational Finance Statistics Yearbook 2003 2004, China Statistical Yearbook 2003 2004, and Rural Statistical Yearbook of China 2004 in an attempt to show differences in access and quality of basic education and how it is contingent on geography and socioeconomic status. It should also be noted that some of this data lack reliability and credibility. Official government data typically suffers from data manipulation of provincial or country level data for poli tical reasons (Rong & Shi, 2001). Also, standards for assessing education attainment rates may vary between provinces and across time, which can limit data accuracy and reliability. The following descriptive analysis tries to show the extent and degree o f inequality and explore how certain factors can contribute to educational inequity. The propositions are based on previous studies, which found that of the three regions, the education system in the west is least developed and most underfunded (Ding & Tsa ng, 2005). Consequently, students from this region have little hope for using education as a means for social mobility. Previous studies are limited, either discussing urban/rural differences or regional variations. By focusing specifically on rural areas, this study hopes to emphasize how educational outcomes are contingent on his/her location of residence. Variables In order to examine educational outcomes, for my dependent variable I use as a proxy retention or transition ratio from prima ry to junior secondary and junior secondary to senior secondary schools. The r etention rate is operationally defined as the number of students enrolling in a higher level of education as a proportion of the number of students


55 who graduated in the preceding year. Although there is data on transition ratios, it is (Hanno et al., p.25 4, 2008). Using data from the same year assumes that there are no major fluctuations in the number of students from year to year. For this reason, I am choosing to use the preceding year as the base as it accounts for fluctuations in enrolment rates and th us, shows a wider range of change. The proportion of students entering the next level within the compulsory educational program illustrates the extent to which Chinese children are attaining the education they are expected to attain, and hence their educat ional outcomes. There are a number of factors that help us understand why rural students have lower attainment rates, including tracking systems in schools that divide high and low achieving classes, an urban centric curriculum which fails to add ress the needs of rural communities or a lack of motivation or disinterest in schooling. (Lou 2010). However, given the available data, the analysis will be limited to seven possible factors, (independent variables ) which contribute to differences in edu cational outcomes in compulsory education across rural China : 1. Teacher Student Ratio 2. Per Pupil Expenditure 3. Extra Budgetary Revenue (Sources and Distribution Patterns) 4. Quality of School Facilities (Per Pupil Capital Construction & Per Pupil Number of Book s Purchased) 5. Per Capita Living Expenditures of Rural Households & Primary Industry as a part of Total Output 6. Education level of Rural Labor Force


56 7. Per Capita Level of Health Services (Hospital Beds, Medical Personnel and % of Income Spent on Health Care) These are addressed more fully below, exploring their definition, importance, and usage. Student Personnel and Student Full Time Ratio Student teacher ratio or average class sizes are a commonly used dimension of school quality. Small class sizes allow students to receive a more personalized education and develop meaningful relationships with their teachers (Brown & Park 2002). Generally, more developed regions have lower student teacher ratio as they have both the resources and the capacity to hire and train more teachers. It is also important to include the staff teacher ratio. Per Student Expenditure Per student expenditure is divided into recurrent and capital categories. Recurrent expenditure refers to spending on school inputs that last for one yea r or less and consists of spending on personnel and non personnel units. Personnel spending is comprised of, teacher and staff salary, fringe benefits for staff and teachers, social security premium (for staff) and scholarships. Non personnel spending incl udes administrative funding, spending personnel recurrent buildings and equipment that last for more th an a fiscal year. School expenditures are an important variable, as it constitutes a significant proportion of all the resources dedicated to education. It is important to note, however, that schooling expenditures does not include household spending on e ducational activities and resources (tutoring, school supplies, etc.) outside of school. Moreover, it does not reflect the opportunity cost of attending school, including the time spent in school and the foregone earnings (Tsang & Ding, 2005).


57 Budg of education is both funded and managed. For compulsory education, it decentralized decision making power and financial responsibilities from the central and provincial governments to local governments. Such a reform did diversif y the revenue base by allowing funds to be raised from both government budgetary sources and extra budgetary sources. Extra budgetary income is collected through sp ecial education taxes, school generated revenue and fess, donations, and other sources of income not included in the government budget. The special education taxes are levied from urban, rural, and local sources. Financial decentralization did pro ve effective in mobilizing rural communities, particularly financially better off communities who had the capacity to mobilize resources from both government and non government sources (Tsang, 1996). However, this policy adversely affected poor rural area s where local governments barely raise enough revenue to cover personnel salaries (Tsang & Ding, 2005). The rest of the cost is often born by individual households. On average, between 1997 and 2004 alone, revenue collected from tuition and miscellaneous f ees grew by 10 percent annually at the primary level and 22 percent at the secondary level (Tsang & Ding, 2005). Among poor households, the inability to afford school is often cited as one of the main reasons for children leaving schools. For example, in a 2004 survey of 100 villages in rural Gansu Province, about half the village heads reported the high costs of tuition as a reason why students dropout in junior high schools (Park & Hannum, 2005). Quality of School Facilities Quality of schooling facil ities is operationally defined as the money spent, per student, on capital construction and the number of books, per student, purchased in 2003.


58 Capital expenditure refers to investment on school inputs such as buildings, dormitories, and equipment that la st more than a year. I assess quality of school facilities through the percentage of buildings in elementary and middle schools that are considered dilapidated. Although the available data does not explain how dilapidated or run down buildings are classifi ed, the assessment provides a sense of quality of the learning environment. Clearly, well kept buildings send the message that society cares about education, and hence is more likely to motivate students. I use per student books purchased as a proxy for av ailable resources and hence the quality of schooling. Access and availability of textbooks in developing countries has proven to increase examination scores (Fuller & Clarke, 1994; Kremer, 2003). A World Bank study in the Philippines introduced math, scien ce and Filipino texts in 52 primary schools with 1:1 and 2:1 student to book ratios. A control group of similar classroom and students were also chosen. Students in the treatment group achievement scores were .30 to .51 Standard Deviations (SD) higher than those in the control group (Heyneman, Jamison, & Montenegro, 1984 as cited in Fuller and Clarke, 1994).It is not only important to have well stocked school, but also to guarantee that teachers utilized these books. While a number of other factors also contribute to a school effectiveness, per pupil spending on construction and equipment and per pupil number of books purchased sheds light on the educational experiences of students in these schools. Per Capita Living Expenditures of Rural Household s & Level of Agricultural Output To assess how rural households across China utilize their income, I use 8 categories of living expenditures for rural households: Food, Clothing, Residence Household Facilities Articles and Services, Medicine and Health Ca re, Transport, and Communication, Cultural, Educational Recreational and Services, Expenditure, and Commodities Articles and Services. Given the topic of the study, I focus explicitly on percentage spent on education and health


59 related services. the urban rural household income gap is substantial, has risen over time, and is one major contributor to the overall inequality. Additionally, most studies esti mate that per capita rural income ratios among the highest in the world (Sicular, Ximing, Gustafsson, and Shi, 2007). The surplus of labor in rural areas, created in part b y market reform policies, and the urban rural income gap has led substantial rural urban migration. Th is large and growing migration population can have a negative impact on potential or future rural labor force population However, despite the growing num ber of migrants the majority of the rural labor force is still involved in agricultural and other primary sectors This is particularly the case for some of economically underdeveloped inland provinces. Typically, agricultural has a diminishing margin al rate of return, resulting in decreasing productivity over time. Consequently, rural farmers tend to earn lower wages and have a lower standard of living than those in the employed in the urban sector or in rural off farm employment (Brauw & Rozelle, 200 9). Educational Level of Rural Labor Force only led to economic growth, but also transformed the structural makeup of the rural labor market Many researchers view the success of rural labor in increasing the standard of living of the rural population (Rozelle, 1996). Although agriculture remains the primary source of income for most rural households, many households supplement their income with other productive activit ies including self employment, wage labor in or around the village or migration. Decisions regarding off farm employment are constrained by a number of factors such as limited local job opportunities, or lack of financial resources to start new self


60 employ ed business (Zhao, 2005). Despite these constraints, participation in rural off farm work has continued to grow. Between 1995 and 2000 alone, participation in off farm work rose by 11 percent from 150 to 200 million employees (Rozelle et al., 2003). A number of personal and household characteristics, such as age, gender, education level and family size affect labor force participation. The research findings are mixed with regards to the role of education. A number of studies found the estimated return s to education in rural off farm work to be less than 5 percent (Zhao, 1999; Meng, 1996; Li & have a significant bearing on their migration patterns. However, given th at education is associated with rural labor experience; educational attainment does have an impact on an capita living expenditures to help explain regional disparities in educational level among the rural labor force. In contrast, a more recent study found the mean return to a year of study found that with each additional year of ed ucation, the probability of participating in off farm employment increases by 16 percent. Furthermore, a better educated locality has both the resources and desire to invest his/her more, partake in more educational activities outside of school, have better nutrition level and have parents who are usually more involved and/or active. Thu s, more developed provinces, both educationally and economically, have the means and the desire to invest in education given its long term benefits. Access to Health Services s socioeconomic status. Students who are malnourished or disabled have a difficult time


61 completing schooling requirements, which does limits their hypothesized future earnings. Among adults, poor health hinders labor force participation both in terms of fi nding work Hubei Province found a positive relationship between educational attainment, income, and occupational status and health (Anson & Sun, pg. 83, 2003). Conclus ion educational outcomes, I examine seven variables that may influence differential educational outcomes across regions and between urban and rural areas. Using 2002 2003 data o f primary and junior secondary rural schools, I illustrate how differences in retention or transition ratios (dependent variable) can be explained by seven independent variables: teacher student ratio, per pupil expenditure, extra budgetary revenue, qualit y of school facilities, per capita living expenditures of rural households & primary industry output, education level of rural labor force, and per capita level of health services. By examining how these factors interact and affect educational outcomes, I hope to shed light on the unequal nature and design of the Chinese educational system. In the following chapter, I present the results from my findings and using relevant scholarly literature, provide content analysi s to showcase how rural and regional fac experience.


62 CHAPTER FIVE: RESULTS In this chapter I first explore the retention and transition ratios, my dependent variable, to help illustrate differences in educational attainment between the regions. Once I have established that these differences exist, I delve into an analysis of the factors that might explain such different outcomes. These empirical findings speak to substantial disparities in economic and social development between the rural areas in the coasta l and inland regions. B y limiting the scope of the study to rural China, I focus explicitly on the intersection between socioeconomic status and geographic factors that cause educational stratification. Retention or Transition Ratio (Dependent Variable) Table 1 shows the primary to junior secondary school transition ratio and the junior secondary to senior secondary school ratio using 2002 2003 data. These ratios demonstrate the significant differences in educational outcomes regionally and between u rban rural populations. Table 1: Urban/Rural Education Transition Ratio: Primary Junior Secondary Schools & Junior Senior Secondary Schooling (2002 2003) Ratio of Primary School Graduates in 2002 entering Junior Secondary Schools in 2003 (Urban) Ratio of Primary School Graduates in 2002 entering Junior Secondary Schools in 2003 (Rural) Ratio of Junior Secondary School Graduates in 2002 entering Senior Secondary Schools in 2003 (Urban) Ratio of Junior Secondary School Graduates in 2002 entering Seni or Secondary Schools in 2003 (Rural) Region 1 1.04 0.68 0.76 0.16 Region 2 1.06 0.71 0.90 0.08 Region 3 1.22 0.60 0.95 0.08 National 1.12 0.66 0.87 0.11 The most peculiar finding is the urban primary to secondary ratio. The ratio is more than 1, implying that more students entered junior secondary schools than graduated


63 primary schools. A number of factors may have contributed to this including, population migration, students from private primary schools entering public junior secondary schools or inaccurate data reporting. The national transition ratio from primary graduates to junior secondary schools entrants for the 2001 to 2002 period is 1.28. The ratios across the three regions also demonstrate similar patterns: Region1: 1.06, Region2: 1.14, and Region3: 1.18. Unfortunately, lack of access to reliable data precludes a further investigation. The most notable difference in urb an and rural areas is the ratio of junior secondary graduates entering senior secondary school; with the urban sector n ationally having 87% of the students moving on to the next level of education, while only 11% of rural student move on to senior high school. The initial difference is quite alarming, but upon further examination, it becomes clear that a part of this diff erence is explained by the fact that a majority of senior secondary schools are located in urban areas. Unfortunately, data constraints preclude an investigation on the urban rural distribution in senior high schools and/or higher education. According to the National Statistical Yearbook of 2004, there are almost 5 times as many senior secondary schools in urban than in rural areas. Furthermore, there is also a high school entrance exam ( zhongkao ), which students must pass to enroll in academic high school can enter in. Yet, Liu et al. (2009) study, using survey data of rural junior high schools in Shaanxi, found that both the direct and indirect cost of going to high school are the prim ary Another interesting finding is that the transition ratio for urban schools in Region 2 and 3 is greater than Region 1. However, these statistics only include regular primary a nd regular secondary schools. Nongovernmental or private schools and specialized secondary schools, most often located in major urban cities, are excluded in the analysis. Yet, despite some of the concerns surrounding official statistics, it is clear tha t enrollment for rural


64 students is lower than those for urban students. It is evident that access to schooling decreases as students move to higher levels of schooling, and that this relationship is stronger for students in rural areas. Surprising ly, the differences between regions do not move in the expected direction. Region three, the poorest, for instance has a larger ratio than region 1 of students transitioning from elementary to junior high school in urban areas; yet, region 2 has the larges t ratio transitioning among students from rural areas. Yet, region 1 has the largest proportion of its rural junior high school students entering senior high schools. Compared to region one, regions two and three have a much larger proportion of their popu lation in urban areas transitioning between junior secondary and senior secondary school. Within the rural sector, region 3 students are less likely to shift form primary to junior secondary schools and also half as likely as those in region 1 to transit ion from junior to senior high school. In all regions, however, students in urban sectors fair better than those in rural areas. Therefore, students in rural areas are less likely to access and attain junior and, even less so, senior high school education Moreover, these differences in outcomes are not as large between urban and rural as they are within regions. Independent Variables: An Analysis of Seven Possible Factors Using the aforementioned findings of my independent variable as my starting point I now begin to outline how the se seven dependent variables help explain these differential educational outcomes. I explained these dependent variables in the methods section Below I offer my findings for each of these variables. Student Personnel Rat io Table 2a and 2b list the 2003 student fulltime teacher ratio and student personnel ratio across the three regions and nationally and divided by locality for primary and junior


65 and senior secondary schools. The calculated national average differ s slightly from the official national data because it excludes Hainan and Tibet. As expected schools in urban areas in Region 1 have the lowest overall ratio. The average student full time teacher ratio in primary and secondary schools in Region 1 is appr oximately 17: 1 for both levels, while the same ratio in the Region 3 is 22 to 1 and 19 to 1. The results indicate that there is less regional variation in the student teacher and student personnel ratio in urban areas for both levels in comparison to rura l areas. In the aggregate, secondary schools have lower overall ratios than primary schools, but also have greater variation. For example, the range of ratios in secondary schools is 7.8, in comparison to 6.3 for primary schools. Among regions, Regions 2 and 3 are more homogenous than Region 1. As one can observe, there are significant variations between urban and rural areas and in both levels of schooling across regions and between localities. These results highlight the differences in the quality o f education of primary students across China. Students in rural west have the highest ratios and, as a result, may experience a less personalized education than the rest of the students. However, even more important than the aggregate number of teachers, i calculated educational attainment of teachers in cities, towns, and counties, using data from the 2000 census. They found a significant degree of disparity in teacher qualifications across urban and rural areas. For example, while 43 percent of primary school teachers in the city had some level of tertiary education, only 14 percent of teachers in the countryside reached that level of attainment. Additionally, close to 40 percent of county l evel secondary teachers only completed secondary technical schooling or less (Hannum et al., 2006, p. 250). B ased on these results, we can observe that the differences between rural and urban areas are more stark than those between regions. There is a clea r resource g ap between what is available for rural students in central and western regions and those attending


66 urban and coastal schools. Next, I explore these observed resource disparities in greater detail by exploring funding variations. Table 2a and 2 b Student Personnel and Student Fulltime Teacher Ratios in Urban and Rural Schools 2a: Primary Schools Student Personnel Ratio (Urban) Student Personnel Ratio (Rural) Student Full Time Teacher Ratio (Urban) Student Full Time Teacher Ratio (Rural ) Region 1 15.7 15.7 18.4 17.5 Region 2 16.3 18.1 18.5 19.1 Region 3 17.7 20.1 19.8 22.0 National 16.7 19.6 19.3 21.1 Source: State Statistical Bureau, China Statistical Yearbook 2003 2004 Table 2b: Regular Secondary Schools (Junior and Senior Secon dary Schools) Source: State Statistical Bureau, China Statistical Yearbook 2003 2004 Per Student Expenditure Table 3a and 3b lists the means, standard deviation and coefficients of variation (standard deviation divided by the me an) of per student expenditures in rural primary and junior secondary schools. As we can observe, there are significant differences in per student means and standard deviation between Region1 and Region 2 and 3, and differences in per student expenditures between primary and lower secondary schools. Moreover, it is evident that Region 1 spends about twice as much as Region 2 and Region 3 the coefficient Student Personnel Ratio (Urban) Student Personnel Ratio (Rural) Student Full Time Teacher Ratio (Urban) Student Full Time Teacher Ratio (Rural) Region 1 12.1 14 .6 15.9 17.3 Region 2 13.6 17.4 17.3 19.9 Region 3 13.6 16.8 17.3 19.2 National 12.1 16.2 16.8 18.7


67 of variation is also much greater, indicating substantial spending inequality within this sub group. F or example, the lowest/highest spending per capita ratio in Region 1 is 18 percent. In contrast, the lowest/highest ratio in Regions 2 and Regions 3 is much greater at 46 percent An unexpected condition is the fact that there is higher per st udent expenditure s in Region 3 than Region 2 in both levels of schooling. One explanation is that Inner Mongolia is included in Region 3; which spent well above the regional average. As previously mentioned, although Inner Mongolia is located, at least geo graphically, in the central region, the government categorizes it as a western province Th it as a lesser developed province and provide additional financial assistance may be because of the ethnic diversity or the fact that it was largely underdeveloped till the late 1990s Table 3a & 3b: Per Student Spending in Rural Schools: Variation within Areas, (Yuan) Table 3a: Rural Primary Schools 2003 Mean S.D C.V. Region 1 1849 1193.6 0.65 Region 2 961 387.6 0.4 0 Region 3 1014 335.0 0.33 Source: State Statistical Bureau, China Educational Finance Statistical Yearbook 2003 Table 3b: Rural Junior Secondary Schools 2003 Mean S.D C.V. Region 1 2075 1249.8 0.60 Region 2 1046 260.4 0.25 Region 3 1166 304.7 0.26 Source: State Statistical Bureau, China Educational Finance Statistical Yearbook 2003 Table 3c and 3d provides further information about how school resources are allocated among these regions. Specifically, it details the amount of personnel and non pers onnel spending (part of recurrent spending) for each of the three regions and the national average for both primary and junior secondary schools. Nationwide, personnel


68 spending accounted for 82 percent of the recurrent spending at the primary level and thr ee quarters of it at the junior secondary level. Surprisingly, the utilization of school resources was similar across regions and for both levels of schooling. Here too, contrary to expectations, Region 3 had a higher overall spending level than Regio n 2 i n both levels of schooling. This is perhaps related to another outlier in Region Xinjiang Province, which has the highest GDP per capita in Region 3 ( 9,828.00 Yuan) (Nation al Statistical Yearbook, 2004). Since the mid 1990s, the government has steppe d up its efforts to develop the province and improve its living standards as a way to contain a growing separatist movement, root ed in ethnic tension between the Han and the various minority populations Another important observation is the fact that Regio n 1 spent more than twice as much on non personnel inputs than the other two regions. Generally, regions and areas with higher spending levels spend a greater proportion of the recurrent funds on non personnel units (Tsang & Ding, 2005). Table 3c & 3d: Recurrent Spending (Personnel and Non Personnel), 2003 (Yuan) 3c: Rural Primary Schools (Yuan) Total Spending Recurrent Spending Recurrent Spending as % of total Personnel Spending Non personnel Spending Personnel Spending as % of recu rrent spending Region 1 1849 1812 97% 1452 360 78% Region 2 961 928 96% 768 160 83% Region 3 1013 970 96% 816 154 84% National 1287 1249 97% 1022 227 82% Source: State Statistical Bureau, China Educational Finance Statistical Yearbook 2003


69 3d: R ural Junior Secondary Schools (Yuan) Total Spending Recurrent Spending Recurrent Spending as % of total Personnel Spending Non personnel Spending Personnel Spending as % of recurrent spending Region 1 2075 2019 97% 1475 544 73% Region 2 1046 1008 96% 7 55 252 75% Region 3 1166 1093 94% 845 248 77% National 1447 1389 96% 1037 352 75% Source: State Statistical Bureau, China Educational Finance Statistical Yearbook 2003 Evidently, even when assessing only rural schools, there are important differences in expenditures between Region 1 and th e other two regions. This expenditure differential point s to better resources being made available to rural students in Eastern China compared to central and western China. The unexpected higher inputs in Region 3 over Region 2, however, also illustrate the importance of analyzing several national initiatives, including the Great West ern Development Strategy (GWDS). The GWDS is designed to provide financial resources and assistance w ith the rest of China. Investing in infrastructure and education are among the top priorities of this initiative. Thus, this influx of additional resources may have affected how funding is obtained and distributed. Extra Budgetary Revenue Table 4 a & 4b details the total revenue and the proportion of revenue collected from extra budgetary revenue for both levels of schooling. Tuition and miscellaneous fees constitutes the largest proportion of extra budgetary budgetary revenue. It is alarming to ob serve that tuition and fees alone comprise a significant share of extra budgetary income; particularly if we consider the earnings of rural parents. Region 1 levies a higher percentage of revenue from extra budgetary sources. Conversely, at least in 2003, Region 3 had the


70 lowest share of total revenue come from extra budgetary sources. It has been suggested in other research that there is a negative correlation between per capita education expenditures and extra budgetary sources (Li, Park, and Wang, 2002 a s cited in Hannum & Park, 2002). My research seems contradict this finding, as Region 1, with the highest per student and recurrent spending also has the highest levels of extra budgetary sources. Another surprising finding is that education levies, as a share of extra budgetary income, is significantly greater in Region 1 than in Region 2 and 3 at the primary and junior secondary level. Presumably, local governments that encounter shortfalls in budgetary sources could counteract this by levying higher ta xes but such is not the case. One possible explanation for this is that additional education levies impose a higher proportional burd en on poo rer rural communities. Thus, local governments may choose to not inflict additional burden on the local population to increase educational expenditures. These findings hold true even when examining each of the three education levies (urban, rural, and local) separately. While Region 1 extracts over 70 percent of its taxes from local and rural surcharges, such surchar ges account for only 51 percent of revenue in the other two regions. Table 4a and 4b: Distribution of Extra Budgetary Revenue in Rural Schools in 2003 (Unit: 1000 Yuan) Table 4a: Primary Schools Total Revenue Extra Budgetary Revenue Extra Budgetary/ Total Tuition & Miscellaneous Fees Tuition & Misc/ Fees/Extra Budgetary Special Taxes and Levies /Extra Budgetary Region 1 3319087 887173 23% 343254 29% 32% Region 2 2988038 591636 20% 291918 45% 11% Region 3 2340871 3 92186 16% 151300 36% 16% National 2856716 617892 19% 256282 36% 20% Source: State Statistical Bureau, China Educational Finance Statistical Yearbook 2003


71 Table 4b: Rural Junior Secondary Schools Total Revenue Extra Budgetary Revenue Extr a Budgetary/ Total Tuition & Miscellaneous Fees Tuition & Misc. Fees/ Extra Budgetary Taxes and Levies /Extra Budgetary Region 1 1805804 542223 27% 222114 34% 27% Region 2 1743187 464989 26% 304803 46% 12% Region 3 951418 213510 21% 78779 32% 11% National 1464453 396233 24% 169133 37% 17% Source: State Statistical Bureau, China Educational Finance Statistical Yearbook 2003 In 2000, the central government reformed the existing rural tax system to alleviate some of the burde n placed on the rural population. The reform went into effect in 2004 and was supposed to abolish the village and township tax levied at 5% per capita income and eliminate informal levies and fess by replacing them with a fixed rate tax (Murphy, 2007, p. 8 1). The purpose of the reform was to prevent local governments and village committees from levying arbitrary fees and increasing tracking and monitoring of the revenue collected. for ancing education. The loss of township education surcharge severely limited the funds for teacher the reform. Moreover, it has also limited the amount of funding al located to new capital construction or to even cover basic operating costs. As a result, many localities have had to reintroduce informal fees to cover these shortcomings (Murphy, 2007, p. 82). The government has also urged parents to take on greater re sponsibility for lowest nations in GDP to public expenditure ratio, spending roughly 2.5 percent of the total national GDP on education in 1995 Most developing countri es, including Egypt and Mexico


72 spend close to 5 perc ent of their GDP on education, percentage substantially higher than that of China Although government spending has improved, rising to 3.3 percent in 2002, its investment proportion is still low according to world standar ds (Heckman, 2005, p. 51 53). Table 4c and 4d lists the 2003 tuition per capita for primary and junior secondary schools; it is categorized by the theoretical and actual tuition and their differences. Revenue expenditures includes a separ excluded from the total budget. While there is little variation between the total both regionally and nationally, there are noteworthy differences on the provincial level. In particular, the difference between the actual and theoretical per student tuition is 100 Yuan at the lower secondary level. It is important, however to take into account the fact that Shanghai has the highest student tuition ratio, 2607 Yuan, and the difference account for only a 4% decrease. Provinces with more than a 20 % change in fees include Jiangsu and Liaoning at the junior secondary level and Guangxi and Xinjiang at the primary level, all of which experienced an increase in fees. As a whole, tuition per student was roughly three times as much as in Region 1 than in Region 2 and 3. Region 3 had the lowest fees in both levels of schools, which may be because of government initiatives intended on providing some monetary relief to poorer county governments t o ease the financial burden. Another interesting observation is the difference in per student tuition between primary and secondary schools. In Region1 and Region 2, junior secondary tuition per capita student is roughly 1.5 times as much as primary per st udent fees. This finding does reflect the notion of rising tuition at each higher of level of schooling and hence offers an important explanation for the declining number of students in rural areas moving from junior to senior high school.


73 Table 4c and 4d: Theoretical and Actual Per Student Tuition and Miscellaneous Fees in 2003 (Unit: Yuan) 4c: Rural Primary Schools Per Student Tuition and Miss. Fees (T) Per Student Tuition and Miss. Fees (A) Difference Region 1 258 265 6 Region 2 89 89 0 Region 3 59 58 1 National 136 138 3 Source: State Statistical Bureau, China Educational Finance Statistical Yearbook 2003 4d: Rural Junior Secondary Schools (Yuan) Per Student Tuition and Miss. Fees (T) Per Student Tuition and Miss. Fees (A) Difference Region 1 474 475 1 Region 2 135.2 134.8 0.4 Region 3 96 100 4 National 241 243 3 Source: State Statistical Bureau, China Educational Finance Statistical Yearbook 2003 The aforementioned information clearly illustrates how r evenue collected from s an important role in creating and perpetuating spending disparities Schools in Region 1 have both higher budgetary revenue and higher capacity to rise any additional funding from outside sources. Moreover, i t is also important to point out that although Region 2 and 3 had lower extra budgetary revenue than Region 1, the additional financial burden, born primarily at the household level, is far greater. Thus, in order to minimize these financial hardships, the central government must eradicate all educational taxes and fees for rural residents, particularly in Region 2 and 3 The inadequacies of government investment are also o bserved in the quality of school facilities. Quality of School Facilities Table 6 describes, per student spending on capital construction and the number of books, per student, purchased in elementary and middle schools. These two variables serve


74 as proxies for the quality schooling. Surprisingly, Region 3 spent more per capita o n capital construction in both levels of schooling. Unfortunately, one cannot draw any definite conclusions based on only 2003 alone. This is evident when I examined the percent change in per student capital expenditures between the 2003 and 2004 school y ear. While Region 3 spent 18 percent more in junior secondary schools in 2004, primary schools in Region 3 also experienced 56 percent decline. In comparison, Region 2 not only had lowest per capita spending in both grading levels in 2003, but also experie nced a substantial decrease in spending, from 2003 to 2004 in both levels of schooling. Region 1, however, is the only one that did not experience reductions in spending at either type of schooling. Overall, however, between 2003 and 2004, Region 2 suffe red the most loss in capital investment in both elementary and junior high school levels. This is followed by Region 3, which experienced reduced investment in primary education infrastructure, but experienced greater investment in junior high schools. Reg ion 1, however, experienced growth in both, albeit more so in the elementary level than the junior high schools. Overall, in these two years, there was greater attention paid to capital investment in Region 1 and the other two. These investments in capital must be read carefully, as a large input one capital investment needs are covered, more investment is unnecessary. The shift, however, would read as a decline in investment, when in fact the structures are in good shape. Analyzing the quality of structures, will shed further light to this matter Table 5 also identifies per capita number of books purchased in 2003. At least in Region 2 and Region 3, each student does not receive his/her own individual book, but students either borrow it or parents spend additional funds purchasing it. Distributing free books to every student ensures everyone has access, at least theoretically, to education (Schemes, 2001). Region 1 clearly spent significantly more on books than Regions 2 and 3 in


75 both primary and junior secondary schools. In fact, Region 1 students got more than one book per student, while in Regions 2 and 3 students had to share their books. In this case we obse rve the expected pattern where there is more investment in Region 2 than in Region 3. Two children in primary schools in Region 2 must share a new book, while about five children have to share a new book in Region 3. One child gets two new books in Region 1. Although Regions 2 and 3 did purchase more per capita books at the lower secondary level, they still remained at less than one book per student. It is evident that there are disparities in the quality of school facilities across regions and betw een grade levels. Based on 2003 data, Region 2 had the poorest quality of school facilities while Region 3 had the greatest provincial variations in both proxy indicators. School facilities in Region 1, on the other hand, are likely to be of a higher quali ty. Not only is there greater preexisting infrastructure, there is less year to year and inter provincial variation Table 5: Per Student Capital Expenditures and Per Student Number of Books Purchased in Rural Schools in 2003 (Unit: Yuan) Rural Primar y Schools Rural Junior Secondary Schools Per Capita Capital Expenditures % Change in Per Capita Capital Expenditures (2003 2004) Per Capita Number of Books Purchased Per Capita Capital Expenditures % Change in Per Capita Capital Expenditures (2003 2004) Per Capita Number of Books Purchased Region 1 37.69 49% (+) 1.54 55.63 2% (+) 2.6 Region 2 32.82 41%( ) 0.31 37.67 24% ( ) 0.51 Region 3 43.81 56%( ) 0.21 73.44 29% (+) 0.42 National 38.67 18%( ) 0.66 57.43 27% (+) 1.99 Source: State Statistical Bureau, China Educational Finance Statistical Yearbook 2003 2004


76 Per Capita Living Expenditures of Rural Households Table 7 lists the per capita living expenditures of rural households subdivided into percent spent for ed ucational and cultural activities and on tuition and fees for basic education in the 2003 school year. The results reveal some interesting observations. Specifically, there is a dramatic difference in the percentage of income spent on tuition and fees betw een the coastal and inland provinces. Region 1 spent almost twice as much Region 2 and more than 3 times of Region 3. However, Region 1 does have an outlier, which artificially inflated the regional per ous fees to only 5 percent. Thus, without the outlier, there is far less variability between the coastal and inland regions. Interestingly, rural households across China spent around 12 13 percent on educational, cultural, and recreational activities. Although Region 1 spent more in aggregate terms, resource allocation and utilization is almost identical across each of the 7 remaining categories. Nevertheless, regional di fferences in per capita living expenditures are staggering. Rural households in Region 1 are financially better off than the rural households in the other two regions, even after taking into account diff erences in the cost of living. Table 6a: Per Capita L iving Expenditure of Rural Households (% Spent on Educational Services and % Spent on Average rate of Tuition and Fees) Unit: ( Yuan and Percentage ) Per Capita Living Expenditures in Rural Households % spent on average on tuition and fees for basic educa tion % Spent on Cultural, Education & Rec. Services Region 1 3038.61 12.1% 13.0% Region 2 1733.12 6.5% 12.2% Region 3 1536.44 3.8% 11.6% National 2108.69 8.8% 12.2% % of Primary Industry as part of Total Output % of Total Labor Force Employ ed in Primary Industry Ratio of Urban to Rural Disposable Income


77 Source : National Statistical Bureau, China Statistical Yearbook, 2004 Table 6b: Ratio of Rural Labor Force, Primary Industry as part of Total Population and Output, Proportion of Urban to Rural Disposable Income Unit: Percentage and Proportion Source : State Statistical Bureau, Rural Statistical Yearbook, 2004 Although the rural population in Region 1 is economically better, only a small proportion of its population actually resides in rural areas. It has the lowest rural urban ratio in comparison to the other regions and nationally as well (see Table 6b). This may be partially d ue to the fact that less than 30 percent of the labor force is employed in primary industry; additionally, primary industry accounts for only 8.4 percent of total output. In contrast, Region 3 employs over 50 percent of its labor force in the primary sect or while it only accounts for 20 percent of its total output and has the highest urban rural income gap. Given all these factors, one can argue that not only is investment in primary industry and rural education important to their development, but that the y must find a way to increase economic opportunities to curtail migration. Education Level of Rural Labor Force Although scholars disagree on the rates of return to rural education in China, educational attainment in rural China has increased over time. Additionally, the correlation between educational attainment and future earnings found in rural China is very different from that found in the rest of the world. In Sub Saharan Africa and Latin America, the average rate of returns for each additional year of schooling is more than 12 percent (Brauw & Rozelle, 2008). Although data limitations prevent me from running correlations between educational attainment and income earnings, the data available does pinpoint some interesting patterns. Region 1 8.4% 29.2% 2.66 Region 2 16.9% 48.3% 3.07 Region 3 18.5% 54.3% 3.68 National 14.6% 44.0% 3.03


78 Table 7 lists the 2003 educational attainment of the rural labor force. It is important to point out that this does not include the percentage of the population who are unemployed or unable to work. Despite this fact, these findings highlight some important observ ations. First, more than three quarters of the population have graduated from primary and/or junior secondary schools. In contrast, less than 10 percent complete senior secondary school. This may be due to the lack of high wage rural off farm employment op portunities. Most of the higher educated population in rural areas tends to migrate to urban cities in search of employment. Across regions, Region 1 has both the lowest illiteracy rate and the highest proportion of the labor force with senior secondary sc hooling and above. In contrast, Region 3 has the highest illiteracy rate and less than 10 percent of its labor force with high school education or above. These findings are analogous to the rural income per capita data discussed earlier. Based on these res ults, it can be said that on average, most of the rural labor force has completed 9 years of education or less. In contrast, the mean level of schooling in urban China is approximately 12 years (Zhang, Zhao, Park, and Song, 2005). Therefore, rural inhabit ants either drop out after completing basic education or those who purse a high school education leave and migrate to urban areas. Either of these scenarios is adversarial to the overall rural welfare. Both the educational level of the rural labor forc e and per capita living expenditures demonstrate how rural residents, particularly those in the central and western regions, not only have a lower standard of living, but limited opportunity for mobility. They have lower levels of education which limits th eir income potential. In addition, they are also constrained by their rural hukou limiting their movement. These obstacles combined create a poverty schooling, but as our fin dings have shown thus far, the likelihood of that occurring is slim.


79 Table7: Education Level of Rural Labor Force (Unit: Percentage) Source : State Statistical Bureau, Rural Statistical Yearbook, 2004 Health Indicators Poor health and disability are important factors in determining an individua socioeconomic status. Students who are malnourished or disabled have a difficult time completing schooling requirements, which does limits their hypothesized future earnings. Among adults, poor health hinders labor force participation both in terms of finding work Hubei Province found a positive relationship between educational attainment, income, and occupational status and health (Anson & Sun, pg. 83, 2003). Table 8: Number of Hospitals Beds Per 1,000 Inhabitants, Percent of Per Capita Living Expenditure Spent on Medicine and Care, Health Personnel per 1000 Inhabitants. Source : State Statistical Bureau, Rural Statistical Yearbook, 2004 Although it would b e ideal to analyze health and nutrition indicators of rural students, the available data is restricted to only a few key variables. Table 8 describes the Illiterate or Semi Illiterate population (%) Rural Labor force with Primary School Level (%) Rural Labor force with Junior Secondary School Level (%) Rural Labor force with Senior Secondary School Level (%) Rural Labor force with Vocational Training or School (%) Rural Labor force with University Education (%) Region 1 3.8 24.7 53.4 11.9 3.9 1.6 Region 2 5.6 29.1 53.5 9.5 1.8 .05 Region 3 13.1 35.0 42.4 7.6 1.5 .04 National 7.8 29.8 49.3 9.6 2.4 .09 Hosp ital Beds per 1,000 Inhabitants % of Per Capita Living Expenditure Spent on Medicine & Health Care Health Care Personnel Per 1,000 Inhabitants Region 1 0.99 6.3% 1.38 Region 2 0.74 6.1% 1.34 Region 3 0.65 6.1% 0.98 National 0.79 6.2% 1.11


80 availability of health services and the mean expenditures on health care services in rural China. As expected, Region 1 has more health care personnel and hospitals beds than Region 2 and Region 3. While the aggregate health expenditures are higher in Region 1, households in all three regions spend an equal share on health care. Another interesting observ ation is the difference in per capita health care personnel. While Region 1 and Region 2 have over 1.35 health care personnel for every 1000 inhabitants, Region 3 has less than 1. Based on these results, one can assume that there is limited access to healt h care across all of rural China, but it is particularly scarce in the West. Conclusion Through my research, I sought to explore to what extent geography, socioeconomic status, and health indicators help explain educational outcomes in primary and seco ndary schools. Using the transition ratio from primary to junior secondary and junior secondary to senior secondary schooling as a proxy for educational outcomes, I demonstrated how poor educational opportunities for students residing in the rural central and western region s leaves t hem at a clear disadvantage compared to those in more developed urban and coastal regions. These inequalities are not only embedded in the education system, but in all aspect s of Chinese society. I examined some of the fac tors that affect educational outcomes in compulsory education and my findings revealed how the larger economic, political, and social forces in society are trans mitted through schooling. The schooling system is designed to benefit students residing in coa stal and urban areas and severely limi t the opportunities available to rural students. In terms of economic factors, there is an unequal distribution of resources and substantial differences in spending levels between coastal and inland regions. As expecte d, Region 1 spent almost twice as much per student than the other two regions. In addition, it had a lower student teacher ratio, better equipped school facilities, and a higher


81 transition ratio from junior to secondary schools. Region 1 also had the highe st per student tuition and miscellaneous fees, the highest per capita taxes and levies rates, and the greatest spending inequality among its provinces. Educational outcomes of students in the western region were overall better than those residing in the ce ntral region. Specifical ly, Region 3 had the lowest tax rate and per student tuition and miscellaneous fees and had the least spending variation among its provinces. These lower fees and tax rates are possibly due to a number of initiatives promulgated by the central government to develop the west and ease the burden on poor rural farmers. Unfortunately, despite some of Region 3 successes, it had the highest percentage of illitera te/semi illiterate labor force the lowest per capita rural living expenditu re, and the least number of health services available. These combined factors shed light on why students in Region 2 and 3 are more likely to drop out Their educational experiences are fraught with poorly trained teachers and facilities, financial difficu lties in meeting schooling costs, and limited access to health services which all affect the type of educational experience they have. In the following chapter, I show how these results reflect the larger theoretical framework surrounding education and st ratification developed in the literature review.


82 CHAPTER SIX: DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION This study, assessing educational outcomes of students in primary and junior secondary schools across China, revealed that the educational experience of a student is finding to examine the specific ways in which schooling and geography interact in shaping zes three additional factors which also play a role in determining the quality of and access to education: attitudes and beliefs about education, parental education, and nutritional levels of students. Though the data I have did not allow me to test these factors empirically, they are important to discuss because empirical studies conducted in Chinese schools and elsewhere have shown that students who come from a home environment that is academically nourishing and students with access to proper nutrition t end to have overall a better educational experience than those students without access to such resources (Hannum & Park 2002; Luo et al., 2012, Zhang, 2011; Yu and Hannum, 2007). I analyze how these factors in combination with the ones described in the pr evious section interact to create an unequal educational system in China. In the second section of this chapter, I assess how the larger economic, cultural, and social mechanisms present in Chinese society affect the educational system, renderi ng it one that does not offer equal opportunity. Both intra province and inter provincial provinces to be the most disadvantaged. They have limited access to and a lowe r quality of education than students from urban and/or coastal provinces. I use economic, sociological and development theories that I discussed in chapter two to help explain why such an


83 inequality exists in both educational opportunity and outcome betwee n students from urban and coastal areas versus those in rural and inland areas. The last section suggests future development. Additional Factors A ffecting Educati onal Outcomes in Rural China In this section, I discuss three additional factors that determine the opportunities and access to a quality education; parental involvement and level of education, attitudes and beliefs surrounding education, and access to pr oper nutrition all affect differences in students in China and other developing countries, I will include empirical work conducted in the United States and other devel oped nations to provide insight to understand the Family Background Previous research on educational stratification in the U.S. has found that students who have parents with high lev els of educational attainment and cultural capital have both the support and access to resources necessary for achieving academic success (Lareau, poor countries in s ix provinces, found that an additional year of a the probability of a child dropping out by 12 14 percent and causes a 14 percent decrease in the likelihood that a child is held back a grade (Brown & Park, 2002, p. 538). However, this study in rural China found that maternal In contrast to these findings expe showe d that mothers d


84 likelihood that a child will remain in school. Particularly, students with low academic a chievement and those from a low socioeconomic background benefit the most from high ma ternal expectations. In addition, the study also re vealed that teacher expectations and perception of a student is dependent at least partially on his/her socioeconomic status and level of parental involvement. In a study of other developing countries a was found to be an important variable in determining educational outcome s (Desia and Alva, 1998). Educated mothers were shown to both educate their c hildren in the home and provide higher household income to help finance formal education In the case of American schools, research illustrates that students from middle and upper middle classes had parents who were more active participants and helped with school related activities more than students with parents from a lower social class (Lareau, which determine the level of parental engagement with school relate d matters. The case of China is unique, however, in the sense that education, both historically and in contemporary times, plays a central role in Chinese society and culture. Thus, even rural parents with limited level of education themselves, still place a major emphasis on education and make sacrifices to help their children receive an education. Their motivation is that they see education as the only way for their children achieve social mobility (Murphy, 2007, p. 71). Based on these examples, we can s ee that B ut perhaps parental expectations and involvement in their schooling is more important in determining educational outcomes in the context of China than it is in o ther developing countries. How these expectations are formed and actualized will be discussed in greater detail in the next section. Educational aspirations and expectations The ascendancy of market driven economic policies has radically altered the ways


85 in which Chinese leaders frame the perceived value and benefit of education. Government officials have increasingly emphasized the role of the individual in determining his/her educational outcomes. In doing so, the state bears little responsibility in failing to ensure social rights such as a decent education and living standards by blaming the low level of intellectual and moral quality capabilities of Chinese villagers while simultaneously making claims to maintain of meeting its socialist backed p rinciples of equality among all sects of the population. However, state backed television programs and newspapers have a lack of parental commitment and the inadequaci phy, 2007, p. 71). In doing so, the blame is adverted to parents, students and teachers instead of addressing the ent renched structural inequalities that have created and perpetuated differential educational outcomes (p. 71). Moreover, since rural parents realize education provides the only possibility way that their children can break the cycle of poverty, they place extreme pressure on their children to achieve academic success. However, in doing so, they may inadvertently deprive their child of a healthy childhood, one filled with curiosity, imagination, and happiness (Lin & Qinghai, 1994, p. 166). These academic pressures ascend from a number of factors pecifically, Chinese interests and personality traits. Instead, their life is defined based on how successful they are in meeting familial obligations and responsibiliti es. Parents are expected to make excel academically. Failure to do can result in the use of various forms of psychological and ph ysical punishments. Whil e some members of the society have recognized the adversarial affects caused


86 by academic pressures, efforts to reform these practices by been met with a great deal of resistance. Though the 2008 curriculum reform is designed to remedy some of the negative psychological and intellectual effects of the current educational system, parents and teachers have yet to see any sustained changes. The curriculum reform, as discussed in chapter three, not only directly threatens the closely held cultural notions of fam ilial and community identity, given its emphasis on individualism, but it has also not been followed by changes to the examination based assessments as a measure for educational success (Lin & Qinghai, 1994). The curriculum reform bears little relevance t o the rural way of life. Much of the reform promotes urban centric values and does little to provide students with practical skills relevant to life in the countryside. Moreover, because of the test based system, schools have little flexibility to make a lterations to fit their localities. between the perceived benefits and possible de triments of education. Students romanticize schooling as their ticket out of the countryside. However, students have also becoming increasingly wary in their belief of education in ensuring social mobility. They are caught in logical dilemma. On the one ha nd, they are supposed to work hard in helping their local village develop as it is deemed backwards and inferior, but they are also expected to work hard to move to more advanced and developed city. Although students realize that schooling provides one of the only means to escape the hardships surrounding the rural inter act with their friends or participate in any recreational activities. Not only are the students, but both the administration and the teachers are fraught with pressure to achieve academic excellence. The school administrations are pressed to achieve a high ranking for


87 the school which is based on the school entrance exam. They in turn, put pressure on the teachers who then pass it down to the students. The end result is a vicious cycle, and students eventually become frustrated and unable to keep up with th eir coursework requirements (Lou, 2010, p. 145 151). oriented education system. A number of western and Chinese scholars have questioned the validity and effectiveness of relying solely on examinatio n based assessments, but no one has offered an alternative method to the current system. Everyone is too afraid to break away from the current system for fear of falling behind. Many rural students consider schooling to be difficult, being forced to learn material of little relevance to their lives, but know that only through schooling that one attains urbanity. Various educational policies, including higher education reform and new curriculum reform, have proven disadvantageous to rural students. They ha ve (Luo, 2010, p. 204). educational aspirations affect their educational experience and achievement. Another Nutritional Levels According to one study conducted by the Internatio nal Food Policy Research Institute in 2000, one in every three children under the age of five in developing countries is malnourished (Smith & Haddad, 2000). These children are at risk for poor health and stunted development which can curtail their ability to learn and achieve academic successes (Yu & Hannum, 2007). A number of empirical works conducted in developing countries school (Sigman et al., 1989; Pollitt, 19


88 (1995) in the Philippines found that students with adequate nutrition levels performed significantly better than malnourished students. However, despite these strong correlative findings, one cannot make a causal argument between poor nutrition and poor educational outcomes. In the context of rural China, only a handful of empirical studies examine the link mal nutrition is a persistent problem in rural and underdeveloped areas in China (Luo et al., 2011; Luo et al., 2012; Hannum & Yu, 2007). One study found as many as 40 percent of incoming freshman in rural junior schools have anemia. Anemia has been linked to cognitive impairment, causing fatigue, a poor attention span, and other physical impairments (Luo et al., 2012). There is a growing recognition among Chinese and western scholars on the importance of poor nutrition as a possible explaination for the growi ng over 3600 rural fourth grade students in Shaanxi Province, examined whether simple nutritional supplements, designed to lower anemia rates, led to improved test sc ores. These supplements did increase hemoglobin levels of anemic students by about .2 standard deviations ( p. 24). Another study conducted by Hannum and Yu (2007) examined the link between nutritional status and school achievement using data from the Gan su Survey of Child and Families (GSCF). The survey encompassed 2000 children ages 9 12 and their families from 20 counties in rural Gansu Province. The analyses presented in their finding found support for the following hypothesis: a favorable famil performance, net of family human capital, material, social, and cultural resources in the home, and school and community factors (p. 70). At least based on these studies, there is evidence to sug gest that improving student nutrition levels may be an effective tool to reduce the gap in educational performance.


89 qualified teachers, better textbooks and schoolin g facilities. Chinese policy makers may three additional factors in combination s with those assessed in my own study reveal that educational inequality is a persistent problem and is influenced by a host of different factors. Thus, the root causes and consequences of educational inequality must be analyzed within the larger economic, cultural, and social context in China and their contribution in the reproduction of class hierarchy in Chinese society. Educational Inequality in Rural China: Using an Economic, Sociological, and Developmental Approach lect how educational inequality is a persistent problem in setting, socioeconomic status, and access to health services. Similar to previous empirical research completed in China and other developing nations, my study on China revealed that there are both intra regional and inter regional inequalities and that students living in urban and/or coastal areas have better educational opportunities than those residing in rural i nland areas. Using economic, sociological and development theories, I demonstrate how students in rural inland China are at a clear disadvantage and that economic, social, and cultural factors contribute to sustain this disadvantage. Moreover, I discuss so me possible implications that this growing inequity in both opportunity and achievement has Human Capital Theory In 1995, China had one of the lowest GNP to public expenditure on education ratios, spending only 2.5 percent of its total GNP on education. In stark contrast, 30 percent of its GNP was allotted to physical capital. Although China has steadily increased its education


90 l physical to human capital is substantially higher than most other countries (Heckman, 2005). This imbalance in human to physical investment ratio in conjunction with policies that restrict the flow of resources and uneven public expenditure investments across regions have led to a lower economic growth rate and created a more unequal society. However, in order to understand how low levels of investment in human capit al has contributed to uneven economic development, I begin with a review of literature on human capital, both internationally and in the context of China followed by a brief discussion of h ow my study contributes to the Human capital and D evelopment liter ature. As previously explained in chapter three, investing in human capital the skills of the population contributes to higher rates of economic productivity and more equitable distribution of wealth within a society (Schultz, 1961). Human capital improves productivity by raising the skill set of the workforce. A more skilled workforce can allocate resources more efficiently and respond and adapt to changing markets. Moreover, greater skills enhances worker mobility and flexibility, helps with techn ological innovation and improvements and relocates resources from less productive to more productive services. In the context of China, a need for more skilled workforce is necessary to adapt to the changing technologies and take advantage of emerging opti ons. Better educated people have the capacity to optimize potential opportunities in trade and technology more effectively than investment in physical capital and underinvestment in human capital will likely result reduced aggregate income and increased inequality. Chinese policy makers must promote policies that help equalize returns and opportunities in different regions of the c ountry.


91 Education may be underfunded in China, partially because the perceived private rates of return to education. A number of studies assessing the average returns to education both nationally and in urban and rural areas found returns to be less th an 5 percent (Chow, 2002; Meng & Zhang, 2001). In contrast, in other developing countries, the average returns to education are above 10 percent. This discrepancy between Chinese returns to education and the international average has caused a number of sch olars to reevaluate the methodological techniques used in these calculations. Additionally, at least historically, labor markets in China function very differently than they do in Western economies. In the late 1980 and early 1990s, wages were distorted an d did not represent the true contribution of human capital to the economy. One study by Fleisher & Wang (2004) calculated the return to education was between 30 and 40 p ercent (Fleisher & Wang, 2004) largely due to the artificially low wages that did not r eflect the true marginal productivity of labor In the context of rural China, the estimated private returns to education in the rural economy are quite low; the average returns across these studies are about 4 percent. However, one study by De Brauw and Rozelle, (2008) demonstrated how methodological shortcomings may have contributed to these low returns. Using a nationally representative sample of workers in rural China and using the hourly wage rate instead of daily or monthly wages found the mean return to a year of education for off farm employment is 6.4 percent. For those under the age of 35, the average return is much higher at 10.5 percent; among migrants, it is around 11.7 percent (De Brauw & Rozelle, 2008, p. 68). My study also highl ighted the importance of increasing human capital stock for rural development. The rural labor force in the inland regions had, on average, both lower levels of educational attainment and income levels. Although my study ascertain that increasing the huma n capital stock will reduce interprovincial and intra provincial inequality two


92 studies, one examining regional inequality and the other assessing urban rural inequality found that human capital investment in rural and less developed regions can help achi eve greater economic efficiency and reduce income inequality (Jiang, Shi, Zhang, and Ji, 2011; after average income exceeds 20,000 RMB. All, but one of the provin ces located in Region 1, have already crossed this threshold. Thus, in Region 1, high level human capital investment increases economic growth and serves to narrow the urban rural income gap. These studies, in combination with my earlier results, reflect the importance of increasing both the development. Sociological theories addressing the reproduction of educational Inequality Sociological research on education has refuted the notion that schooling is a great equalizer. Schools are sites of conflict which reproduce and perpetuate inequality. Educational inequality can be observed by examining differences in the educational experience of students belonging to the dom inant social groups and those in the lower strata. Unfortunately, most of the research is focused on the American educational system. There are only a limited number of sociological studies analyzing the relationship between class and societal structure on educational inequality in China. Thus, I will attempt to use western theories on educational stratification and my own research to help explain how the Chinese educational system does not decrease but in fact reproduces inequality. Economic Inequalities The unequal distribution of resources and funding is a major problem surrounding Chinese schools (Tsang & Ding, 2005). Although schools receive funding from national, provincial and local levels, a majority of the budget still comes from local so urces. Local governments in more developed localities have the capacity to mobilize significantly more


93 resources, both government and non government, for education. My study highlighted the differences in funding resources and budgets in rural primary and junior secondary resources. Per pupil spending in Region 1 was significantly higher than Regions 2 and 3. In addition, schools in Region 1 raised a greater share of its resources from non budgetary resources. This is indicative of the greater resource capa city in Region 1. Localities in education than those in inland regions that are less developed. Another common inequality found in Chinese schools is in the qual ity of teachers. Schools in Region 2 and 3 had higher teacher student ratios than those in Region 1. In addition, the urban rural disparity in student teacher ratio is also worth highlighting. Although there were noticeable differences in ratios between ur ban and rural schools overall, these differences were the smallest in Region 1. Thus, we can observe patterns of decreasing educational inter regional and intraregional inequality in Region 1. In addition, other studies also found significant differences i n teacher qualification between urban and rural schools (Hannum et al., 2006). In addition, most teachers also preferred teaching in urban schools because of higher salaries and access to better resources. My study showed how schools in Region 1 bought mo re books per pupil than schools in Regions 2 and 3. Therefore, rural schools in Region 2 and Region 3 have access to fewer materials and given their lower earnings, access is also lower Teachers in poor rural schools face resource constraints and lack the necessary training to adequately teach students in these schools. Standardizing teacher qualifications, offering training programs, and increasing access to textbooks and other teaching materials are all ways to help enhance school quality in rura l improvised schools (Qian & Smith, 2008). Unfortunately, the current system is designed to advantage those schools in wealthier areas with access to more funding and resources.


94 Knowledge production and distribution Institutional features embedded possess high levels of cultural and social capital. Given the limited scope of my study, I will rely mostly on secondary sources to demonstrate these patterns. Students residing in poor rural localities fac e a number of constraints that make it extremely difficult for them to achieve high levels of educational attainment. Education provides one of the only ways for upward social mobility, but the educational experience of rural schools does not reflect the n eed of these students. It instead is designed to ensure that most rural students are either unable or unwilling to continue schooling. There is a powerful cultural belief in the importance of school and education rooted in Chinese society. Most pare schools. However, analyzing certain economic and educational practices and policies reveal many of the institutional barriers that limit the educational opportunities of students. I will br has in fact further exacerbated educational inequality Curriculum Reform Chinese policymakers attempted to broaden educational aims through curriculum ref orm. The reform goals were aimed at creating a more holistic style of education, emphasizing the individual by enhancing his/her freedom of expression and creativity (Dello Suzhi jiaoyou ics like creativity, innovation, vision and pro social skills which prove advantageous to urban students who have high levels of cultural and social capital. The new curriculum is designed to make students more flexible and successful in multiple areas rat her than only one in a narrow field (Zhong, 2006). However, what constitutes as knowledge and how knowledge is distributed puts rural students in a very disadvantageous position. Rural students are

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95 taught knowledge with little relevance to their lives. Stu dents have a difficult time conceptualizing what they are learning because they cannot relate to most of the material (Luo, 2010). In addition, school resources. The new curr iculum requires a new way of teaching. However, most rural schools are not provided with the additional training and resources needed to implement these reforms. New textbooks are taught in old ways, with more redundancy and repetition, and much stricter c ontrol of what is taught and how students learn within the classroom. This is because the new curriculum reform is not accompanied with changes to how students are evaluated (Dello Iacovo, 2009). The exam based assessment system tests rural students on urb an centric materials. Rural students are taught the cultural forms and ideologies of the urban class which not only shapes how they perceive their own life, but mod ernity, but schooling ignores rural needs and rural concerns. As a result, rural schools contribute to the decline of rural areas. The content of schooling is a replication of that of urban schools. This imposition is further justified by the exa m based curriculum which evaluates this content. The only way for rural students to excel is to internalize a type of knowledge that does not reflect their unique experiences or settings. Many students drop out because they become disinterested in learnin g. The new curriculum is accompanied by several challenges. What is considered and how knowledge is distributed is proven disadvantageous to rural students. The new curriculum is supposed to be more interdisciplinary, critical and innovative, but in realit y it further separates rural students from the material that they are learning. In addition, changes to the curriculum have not been accompanied by adjustments to the exam based evaluation mechanism that dictates learning and teaching at all levels of scho oling. Students

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96 are being taught using traditional subject centered learning, causing rural students to lag even further behind their urban cohorts. The classroom learning experience of students in poor improvised areas are filled with contradictions. Sch ooling is not an equalizer, but a source of conflict P olicies intended to create educational equality have in fact furthered inequality. Development Theories: Global expansion and Marketization of Education in the reform era has been accompanied by rapid marketization. Since the start of the reform era in 1978, China has experienced major structural changes in its economic, social, and political spheres. This reform period marked a fundamental shift in the id eological principles surrounding education. Education no longer serves as a means to indoctrinate the masses with communist ideology and en hance social welfare. It serves primarily to enhance economic development and help China modernize. As previously me ntioned, financial and decentralization of the education system result in major changes in educational attainment and participation. across the globe with the establishm ent of a universal set of educational norms. Education is now considered one of the most important ways to enhance economic and social development. However, there are a number of contradictions between educational policies designed for economic development and those designed to advance social development. driven educational system has not only differentiated but stratified the population by outlining social trajectories at a very early stage in life. The irony is that while reform pol icies led to enhanced educational opportunities, they have also made these opportunities more a function of poverty, gender and ethnicity than in the centralized planned economy during the pre Postiglione p. 5, 2004 ). It is the interaction of market forces and the expanding global

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97 system. Market mechanisms are playing a greater role in allocating resources often at the expense of Marxist educational provisions (Postiglione as cited in Postiglione, 2004). educational stratification in a number of ways. Wu (2009) delineates how economic reforms have, eit her directly or indirectly, resulted in unequal access to educational opportunities. First, economic growth demanded more skilled labor. The start of the reform era was followed by a complete dismantling of earlier educational policies to emphasize quality of education over access to education. Second, economic growth led to greater resources being devoted to educational development and enrollment expansion. However, the decentralization of public finances and uneven regional economic development led to fun ding and resource disparity between urban and rural areas and across regions. Third, in order to accommodate for the increasing educational costs, schools began to be allowed to charge fees. The rising costs of educational fees have become one of the major reasons why rural students drop out. Their decision to discontinue the education after completing elementary and junior high school schools is in part due to lower quality of rural education (p. 91 95). In addition, as mentioned earlier, childr en in rural areas have lower access to health facilities and inadequate nutrition levels, which makes it difficult for rural children to both participate and perform equally well prior to the time they enter high school (Liu et al., 2009). The other major reason is associated with the direct and indirect costs associated with high school and college education. According to the Ministry of Education, a junior high graduate would expect to earn about $ 1,685 a year. The foregone earnings of three years of hi gh school education would equal about $5055. Many rural students perceive the

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98 (2009) study found that although enrollment rates for rural students increased as a result of the 9 year compulsory education law, family background and registration status played a greater role in determining whether children received education beyond the compulsory in 2000 than it did in the 1990s. These results indicate that educational oppo rtunities for disadvantaged students are in fact less, despite China experiencing sustained economic development. Since 1949, China has experienced rapid educational expansion, with much of t he increase o ccurring prior to its market liberalization After a period of stagnation in the early 1980s, the expansion pattern has reemerged. This pattern of expansion differs greatly between the pre and post reform era ; in the post reform era, policy m akers shifted away from a focus on egalitarianism and class based struggle and moved towards strengthening the link between schooling and economic development. Consequently, the Chinese population has become increasingly more educated, which in turn, has h market expansion. At the same time that market integration has increased the rate of return to education, it has also contributed to greater income and educational inequality (Wu, 2009). These disparities in educational enrollment an d attainment are linked to several factors, including gender, socioeconomic status, geographic location, and ethnic origin. If China can expand enrollment rates in senior secondary and high school education, it has the potential of reducing the urban rural gap and enhancing social mobility These outcomes are both in its design and structure, severely hinders rural students from taking advantage of the benefits of educati onal expansion In fact, Lou (2010) showed how for students in rural areas, schools are not a site of learning but instead sites of conflict Schools are designed to

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99 serve national interests, forcing rural students to adapt urban values and become part of an industrial society. Students are not taught practical knowledg e related to agriculture, and the rural way of life is eschewed Only a select few talented children have the opportunity to achieve upward social mobility. The rest are taught with little r elevance to their lives and are evaluated using standardized exam scores. Education does not address the needs of the rural locality. Generally, s tudents feel a disconnect between what they are taught in schools and what they actually experience a nd observe in their daily lives. Educational policies designed to enhance opportunities for rural students are often not designed in the interest gradual decline of rura l identity and way of life. Therefore, while enhancing educational opportunities has a number of benefits, there are a number of obstacles that can hinder how t hese benefits are actualized. One possible source of conflict is whether rural students graduati ng from college have access to the same type of jobs and incomes as their urban counterparts. Guanxi is a cultural phenomenon unique to Chinese society that speaks to this potential conflict ; the most pertinent definition of Guanxi rticular and sentimental tie that has the potential of facilitating favor exchanges between the parties social networks and connections available exclusively to urban students, then they are starting off on unequal footing, despite having equal or better educational credentials in comparison. In addition, p olicymakers have also delegate d the blame for unequal educational outcomes onto parents, students or teachers, and bear no responsibility for the post reform policies that have caused and maintained educational inequalities For example, in 1998 the Chinese government issu ed a national policy initiative to advance science and technology,

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100 with the goa l of contributing to economic prosperity. Investment in h igher education was perceived as the most important mechanism for producing and transmitting this type of knowledge (Wan, 2009). For Vice Premier Li, vice premier in charge of education at the time, the rationale for expanding higher education was based exclusively on economic reasoning (Li, 2003 as cited in Wan, 2009). Economic development played a central role in to economic growth yet the needs of economic development clearly preceded the needs of The Chinese government did, however, meet its higher education expansion objective. From 1998 to 2004, enrollments of new undergraduate students increased, on average, by 26.6 percent per annum, increasing from 1.08 million 1998 to 4.47 million in 2004. Nevertheless, the policies and initiatives that led to this rapid higher education expansion paid little attention to issue s of equity. A study completed by the Higher Education Research Institute at Beijing University of Science and Technology (as cited in Wan 2006) found that in 1999, four times as many urban students registered for the college entrance exam than rural stud ents. Additionally, students from the more advantaged backgrounds typically attend key national universities, while those from rural and disadvantaged backgrounds attend lower quality provincial and local universities. The abovementioned example illustra tes how enrollment expansion alone does not in fact reduce educational inequality. In the case of higher education, it has, in some sense, widened the gap between the disadvantaged and the advantaged classes. Students in the dominant class are better equip ped to take advantage of the enrollment expansion pursued by the government They have better access and receive a better quality of education, which translates into better career and life opportunities. While recent policy initiatives do emphasize issues of equity, they still remain secondary to maximizing enrollment. Without

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101 adequate attention to issues of distribution, enrollment expansion will continue to benefit one section of the population at the growing expense of the others. Conclusion The st udy revealed how educational inequality is a persistent problem in China. The educational experiences and outcomes of rural students are hindered by a host of economic, political, and social forces from which the dominant classes benefit The findings rev ealed how rural students in the central and western region have limited access and a lower quality of education than those in urban and coastal regions. While improving educational enrollment and attainment rates in rural areas is imperative to ture development it also presents a unique challenge ; it asks p.180). On the one hand, according to development literature, one of the key ways to compete in th e global market is to have a highly educated labor force in order to be able to adapt to and deal with technol ogical advancements in an ever changing workplace. Based on this logic, China must expand education al opportunities for its rural citizens, as the y will be providing a large portion of the labor supply in the coming years for its manufacturing and services enterprises. In order to compete globally, China must increase the sha re of its rural labor force that has a high school education and increase t he quality of vocational high schools and other technical skills (Liu, 2009). Howev er, it is important to note that the importance of educational expansion and equality of opportunity extend far beyond greater economic prosperity The government has a mor al obligation to e nsuring a good quality education for all its citizens to allow them to attain a decent providing them with the agency to be able to make their own decisions. Additiona lly, education serves to help a person develop their sense of self and f orm their own identity.

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102 Many of the educational initiatives and policies in China place little or no values on helping the rural student form his/her identity; instead education al expa nsion se rves only as a means to an end economic growth educational policies should be fundamentally expand ed beyond this worldview, recognizing the inherent value and importance of e qualizing educational opportunity for all.

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