Merger of rural schools led to doubled number of students dropping schools

Ensuring the children at school age is the legal responsibility of the governments. However, according to the report released by the Audit Department on May 3 that there are unreasonable mergers and acquisitions in some counties out of the investigated 1,185 counties. In some regions, school scale and school number have been considered as major policy targets resulting in some unacceptable school mergers and undesired consequences.

From May to August last year, the Audit organized investigations covering 1185 counties (cities, flag, hereinafter referred to as County) in 27 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government, hereafter referred to as Province). The task of the investigation is audit the school dissemination since 2006 involving rural primary and secondary schools which are the key units to provider the compulsory education. Major surveys cover 25,127 schools, involving 17.0528 million students.

From 2006 to 2011, 833 (70%) county schools’ average service radius had increased:

Junior high schools service radius increased by 26%, and an average of 8.34 km;
Primary schools service radius increased by 43%, and an average of 4.23 km.

In the surveys covering 12,576,300 non-resident students, 493,100 (4%) had to walk by more than three kilometers, out of which 100,300 had to walk by more than 5 km, and they were concentrated in mountainous or hilly areas. The long distance of walking had increased the students’ physical consumption, resulting in a corresponding reduction of time spent in learning and other school activities.

The rural school layout adjustments which led to the farther school distance for students had also increased the relevant education costs such as transportation and school accommodation fee. Larger school distance had increased the number of dropouts among secondary school students, with verification of the 1,155 schools, the number of dropouts rose from 3,963 in 2006 to 8,352 in 2011, an increase of 1.1 times.

Source: 京华时报

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