In the recent tide of urbanization and industrialization, rural farmers have sought employment openings in the city. Instead of remaining in their family’s village to farm and participate in the community’s manual labor force, adults chase professions in the city to receive better opportunities and amenities, which come along with the urban lifestyle. In their search for a job, these adults must decide what to do with their children.
Due to the household registration system, these rural parents can not take their children into the city with them to go to school because they will not be accepted into the urban schools, as they reside in the countryside. This system forces their parents to choose from a few poor options: leave them to rest at home, bring them to the city to unregistered schools, which often are shut down by officials or send them to rural private schools.
Around 33 millions children attend these rural private schools. A polar opposite to private schools in the U.S., these rural Chinese children do not enjoy beautiful, sprawling campuses with impressive technological, research and athletic facilities. Quite the contrary, teachers lock children in a room of poor conditions for hours to study by themselves. They do not receive proper nutrition. More than half the children must share a bed with another student. These children are abandoned and often struggled with sentiments of depression and loneliness. Children, finding themselves without a disciplinary figure, get themselves into trouble with drug use and overall bad behavior. On top of all these issues with the isolated nature of the schools, some students suffer from sexual assault from their teachers.
Without action from the government, these issues will continue to worsen. The government’s move to industrialization has benefitted millions, but the rural community stands as the backbone of Chinese cultural history. If policymakers do not act, this culture may be lost, as the children are the future. Without any sort of training or education, these children lack the means to contribute to society in any capacity.