Going to School with Dad on My Back – Part 2/3

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.

Continued on December 21, 2011 in Going to School with Dad on My Back – Part 3 or return to Part 1


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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2 Responses to Going to School with Dad on My Back – Part 2/3

  1. Aussie in China says:

    Sorry this is off topic, but check out the Chinalaw.com blog re: Chinese soccer.
    Another thing is that my past few comments regarding their ignorant opinions haven’t seen the light of day.

    • Aussie in China wrote, “Another thing is that my past few comments regarding their ignorant opinions haven’t seen the light of day.”

      If you are talking about the China Law Blog, I left a comment or two there in the last year of so that never saw the light of day… Possibly anyone that appears to be too “pro China” [meaning we stick to the facts instead of unsupported biased opinions] doesn’t earn clearance to leave comments.

      As for the post on Soccer in China, I bought the copy of “The Economist” today that has that piece in it and will be writing a post in response in the near future.

      For anyone that is interested, here’s a link to the “China Law Blog” post–China Sucks at Football/Soccer … What Does that tell us? The answer is simple. Soccer isn’t a Chinese sport on the same playing field with these three American gods: football, baseball and basketball, which tens of millions of Americans worship more than they worship Jesus Christ.


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