January 2019

The city of Shenzhen has made headway in enabling the children of migrant workers access to the same education rights as their urban peers. Following the annual “two sessions” of the city’s legislative and political advisory bodies in late January, policies were recommended to streamline the arduous ‘subsidy declaration procedure’, making it easier for migrant children to receive subsidies to attend private schools in the city. This is a significant step towards addressing the problems surrounding the outdated hukou system of household registration, which currently sees a large number of migrant children forced to return to their rural-residence in order to complete their secondary education. Many of these ‘left-behind children’ face significant emotional distress as well as educational disadvantage as a result of being separated from their parents and forced to adapt to life and schooling in a countryside they don’t know. Over 70% of Shenzhen’s population are not locally registered. 

It is largely thanks to the persistent advocacy of local organisations with direct experience assisting migrant children, that Shenzhen People’s Congress representatives put forward proposals to help redress the unequal access to education among migrant children.