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School Mapping Restructure in China: What Role for the Small Rural School?

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Despite significant progress over the past fifteen years associated with School Mapping Restructure (SMR) in Chinese rural schools, many small schools have been closed or have merged with larger primary schools. This has resulted, among other things, in difficulties for many students in rural areas who now have to travel longer distances to a central (primary) school and whose families generally have to bear greater expenses for schooling. This paper examines the role of small rural schools in the Chinese education system, looksat the context and impacts of SMR on these schools in terms of quality, cost and access indicators, and highlights some of the key difficulties faced by these schools in the restructured education system. We argue that small rural schools have a significant role to play in delivering education services in rural China and should therefore be retained, supported and equipped with the right levels of facilities and quality services for them to fulfill their role. The policy implications of these findings for education officials are discussed in the context of continuing SMR.

Affiliations: 1: College of Education, Huazhong Normal University ; 2: Faculty of the Built Environment, University of New South Wales


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