No country has built a world class, modern educational system over night, as you shall learn in this post.
Based on a true story, Going to School with Dad on My Back (1998) is an excellent film that accurately portrays the difficulties many children from poor families in rural areas of China experience to earn a meaningful education.
Most Americans do not realize that partly subsidized private schools in China, both in urban and rural areas, were not always free. Parents needed to pay a fee for their children to attend school as the father does for his son in the 1998 film.
However, China’s education system is evolving as public education evolved in the United States.
For example, secondary schooling in the United States started as an essentially elite pursuit, with a mere 2 percent of the population acquiring the equivalent of a high school education in 1870, the earliest year for which data are available.
Then from 1900 to 1996, the percentage of teenagers that graduated from high school in the US increased from about 6 percent to almost 69 percent today [the highest US high school graduation rate was 77% in 1969], which demonstrates that public education in the US evolved and is still evolving as it is in China. Source: EdWeek.org
In the movie, which was released in 1998, the father had to pay a fee for his son to attend the closest rural elementary school. Today, paying a fee to attend school may not be the case. Starting in 2010, China implemented serious legislation to prevent any attempts by schools [private or public] to collect illegal charges. Source: Xinhuanet.com
Xiong Bingqi, the deputy director of a Beijing-based private non-profit organization on educational policy, noted that enhancing the quality of compulsory education would help put an end to charging school enrollment fees.
The University of Michigan says China’s “Compulsory Education law took effect in 1986 and made requirements and deadlines for the public to receive a free education. The law guaranteed school-age children the right to receive a nine-year education—six years of primary education, and three years of secondary education.
However, there are fully subsidized schools in China and partly subsidized schools, which means parents may be asked to pay a tuition fee and other fees [regardless of the law] required by the private schools that are partially subsidized. The partially subsidized private schools are an attempt by China’s government to increase literacy.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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