Reading Response Education and Reform in China

ReadingResponse: Education and Reform in China

ReadingResponse: Education and Reform in China

Issue:Rural education in urban areas of China

Thetext “Education and reform in China” focuses in different factorsthat have significant influences in the progress of China, but thispaper will focus on the issue of lack of education reforms in ruralareas of China. The text was edited by Hannum and Park and publishedby Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group in 2007. The authors introducethe issue by discussing the benefits (such as economic progress andgood health) of education to the society. The authors then indicatehow low educational attainment in the rural areas of China has deniedthe rural communities an opportunity to attain the benefitsassociated with education. The text provides the analysis of theimpact of low educational attainment in rural areas of China oneconomic development in those areas.

Thetext represents the issue of low educational attainment in the ruralareas if China as a serious challenge that have reduced the capacityof China to achieve the desired level of economic growth. The authorsstate that the largest proportion (58 %) of China’s populationresides in the rural areas. This means that true development can onlybe achieved if the government focuses more on the education sector inthe rural areas. Although the text acknowledges that China has madesome progress (such as transition from agriculture to industry), thegovernment have not prioritized rural education. Hannum &amp Park(2007) states “Despite the imperative of increasing the value ofChina’s human capital stock in rural areas, the government has notgiven top priority to rural education in its development plan” p.207. This implies that the government is to blame for low educationattainment in the rural areas.

Theissue of low educational attainment and its impact in the rural areasof China is well covered in the text. Hannum &amp Park (2007) usesthe causes-effect approach to discuss the issue. There are two majorcauses of the low education attainment in the rural areas. First, thelow rate of return on investment in education prevents the governmentfrom allocating more resources to education in the rural areas.Hannum &amp Park (2007) states “investment in rural education iswidely believed to generate low rates of return” p. 207. Secondly,the socialist legacy of China, which encourages the allocation ofjobs to individuals instead of allowing the competitive methods ofrecruitment, discourages the rural resident from applying efforts inacademic. The Ultimate effect of these factors is the poor economicperformance in the rural areas compared to urban areas. There is aneed to improve the labor efficiency of the rural residents, whichcan be achieved by investing more in rural education.


Educationis strongly correlated with economic development because it plays amajor role in developing human capital. This means that educationincreases the people’s capacity to take part in economic activitiesand make informed decisions that result in economic growth. Forexample, a study conducted in Pakistan indicated a high level ofeducational attainment reduced social injustice and poverty, whileproviding social inclusion as well as social mobility in an upwarddirection (Shahid, 2007). A similar study indicated that educationattainment improves cognitive skills of human labor, thus increasingtheir productivity (Hanushe, Jamison, Jamison &amp Woessman, 2014).This supports the argument that poor economic performance in therural areas of China can be attributed to low academic achievementamong the rural residents.

AlthoughHannum &amp Park (2007) blame the government for low educationattainment in the rural areas, both the private and the public sectorhave a role to play in ensuring that education is accessible to allcitizens. This means that even the private sector has failed toestablish academic institutions in the rural areas, which havedeteriorated the situation. Private schools admit about a quarter ofstudents from weaker groups (including the economically and sociallychallenged students), in both developing and developed economies(Ashley, 2014 and Sarvapilli, 2012). This means that the issue of lowacademic attainment in the rural areas of China can be resolvedthrough the concerted efforts of the private and the public sector.Failure to focus on the contribution of both sectors will result inpretence of low academic attainment and poverty in the rural areas.The barrier of socialist legacy is a cultural challenge that mighttake long time to resolve. However, the stakeholders (including thegovernment and organizational leaders) can overcome it gradually byusing the competitive methods of recruitment. This can help the ruralresident find value in education, thus improving the overallattainment.

Inconclusion, education is an important tool that contributes towardseconomic development by improving the capacity of people to makelogical decisions. Educational attainment in the rural areas of Chinais a major challenge that has been caused by historical, cultural,and economic factors. Although the government bears the greatestresponsibility in the failure of the academic sector in the ruralareas, there are some complex challenges that require thecontribution of all stakeholders. The success of the government andthe private sector to improve the education sector in the rural areaswill reduce poverty by ensuring that the labor market is functioningwell.


Ashley,L. (2014). Therole and impact of private schools in developing countries.West Midlands: University of Birmingham.

Hannum,E. &amp Park, A. (2007). Educationand reforms in China.London: Routledge.

Hanushe,A., Jamison, T., Jamison, A. &amp Woessman, L. (2014). Educationand economic growth.Cambridge, MA: Harvard Kennedy School.

Sarvapilli,R. (2012). Rightto education: Role of the private sector.London: Earnest and Young.

Shahid,K. (2007). Importanceof education in economic development.Karachi: Interface.