Behind Before They Begin: The Challenge of Early Childhood Education in Rural China

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, Vol. 37 no. 1, page(s) 55-64

Posted: 9 Apr 2013

See all articles by Renfu Luo

Renfu Luo

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP)

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy

Chengfang Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies

Brian Sharbono

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Jennifer Adams

Stanford University

Date Written: March 1, 2012

Abstract

The main goal of this paper is to analyze the factors (access, attendance and quality of preschools) that may be affecting the educational readiness of China’s rural children before they enter the formal school system. Using data from a survey of 80 preschools and 500 households in 6 counties in 3 provinces of China, this paper documents the nature of early childhood education (ECE) services and the educational readiness of children aged 4-5 in rural China. We present evidence that ECE services are seriously deficient. Households in many areas of rural China do not have convenient access to preschool facilities. Preschools have poor facilities, inadequate health services, and little concern for the nutrition of their students. Most teachers have little formal training. In part due (perhaps) to the poor quality and low participation in preschool, in this paper we will show that China's rural children score much lower on standardized educational readiness tests. In fact, according to our findings, more than one half of the rural children in our sample are “not ready” for continuing into the next level of formal education. Our analysis implies that it is necessary to improve the facilities and quality of teachers and to increase the probability that children will be sent to ECE institution.

Keywords: Education, Nutrition, China

Suggested Citation

Luo, Renfu and Zhang, Linxiu and Liu, Chengfang and Rozelle, Scott and Sharbono, Brian and Adams, Jennifer, Behind Before They Begin: The Challenge of Early Childhood Education in Rural China (March 1, 2012). Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, Vol. 37 no. 1, page(s) 55-64. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2247074

Renfu Luo (Contact Author)

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP) ( email )

Building 917, Datun Road
Beijing 100101
China

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy ( email )

Anwai, Beijing, 100101
China

Chengfang Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) ( email )

52 Sanlihe Rd.
Datun Road, Anwai
Beijing, Xicheng District 100864
China

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Brian Sharbono

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Jennifer Adams

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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