China passes law to ensure children’s basic education

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The 31st session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress voted and passed The Family Education Promotion Law of the People’s Republic of China on Oct 23. The legislation clearly states that parents and guardians of minors are responsible for teaching their children basic skills, while the state provides guidance, support and services.

The law stresses that when educating children, parents and guardians should pay attention to a minor’s physical, psychological, and intellectual development and respect their rights to participate in family affairs and express their opinions. Methods the law proposes include teaching with daily examples, combining words and deeds, respecting differences and providing scientific guidance based on age and personality characteristics.

However, the separation of parents and children must be addressed in order to better implement the proposed methods outlined in the law. A sample survey of 1 percent of China’s population from 2015 showed that more than one-third of children nationwide didn’t live with both parents — 8 percent were children from single-parent families and the remainder were children separated from their parents by migration, a total of 87.61 million.

According to data from China’s seventh census, the size of the country’s migrant population reached 376 million in 2020, 1.5 times that of 2015. An estimate from last year claimed that around 100 million children were unable to live with both parents.

The law suggests that local governments, especially in popular destination cities for migrant workers, should keep files on left-behind minors and families that struggle to meet children’s basic needs. They are also encouraged to provide services to help with things like childcare, school registration, and living conditions.

In addition, education administrative departments and women’s federations are expected to assist in teaching basic skills to left-behind minors and parents or other guardians of minors in need, providing resources to ensure the physical and mental health of minors and their families.