>

Educational Opportunities for Rural and Urban Residents in China,

Social Sciences in China

Vol. 34, No. 3, 2013

 

Educational Opportunities for Rural and Urban Residents in China,

1978-2008: Inequality and Evolution

(Abstract)

 

Wu Yuxiao

 

Despite the expansion of Chinese education and the steady rise in the educational level of urban and rural residents since reform and opening up, the problem of educational inequality has persisted. This study employs CGSS2008 data to test the effects of household registration, family socio-economic status, years of parental education, and sibship size on educational opportunity at the three stages of junior middle school, senior middle school and higher education, as well as the changes in these effects over the period 1978-2008. The results show that there is no observable rural-urban disparity in opportunities for continuation to the junior middle school stage, but there is rising inequality in opportunities for continuation to senior middle school and higher education; the influence of fathers occupational status on childrens educational opportunities remains largely the same, indicating that the stratification of educational attainment has not changed markedly since  1978; years of parental education play a marked and increasing role in childrens educational attainment; and educational inequality due to sibship size also displays a rising tendency. To understand the structure and evolution of inequality in Chinese education since reform and opening up, it is necessary to study the micro-level mechanisms affecting residents’ educational decision-making.