Report reveals problems faced by children of migrant workers

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The healthy development of a child heavily depends on the nurturing and care of their parents. And good childcare usually requires that a child lives with their parents.


Living with parents is hard to achieve for many Chinese migrant children. Migrant children are children who have the chance to migrate with their parents to a city. However, many children whose parents are migrant workers are not migrant children and do not live with their parents.


According to the latest official statistics, there were approximately 130 million children with migrant parents, among whom 71 million migrated with their parents. This number is an improvement compared to 2010 when only 36 million children were able to migrate with their parents. 


The core of promoting the healthy development of migrant workers’ children is to help those children be able to live with their parents and have equal access to the educational resources of the cities where they live through government policies. 


For many migrant workers, it is difficult to take their children with them because there are various challenges concerning school admissions. But leaving their children behind can cause problems with children’s development and education. Each migrant family faces the dilemma of taking a child with them or leaving them behind.


In 2021, 61.6 percent of migrant children at the preschool stage were enrolled in inclusive non-profit kindergartens, 26.2 percent lower than the national average. There has also been a decline in the number of children in Years 1 to 12 who were able to migrate with their parents. Only 615,600 migrant children were allowed to take part in the national college entrance exam in their home city. That is merely 2.71 percent of the total sign-ups for the exam.


Besides schooling, the value of community child service is still unseen by the majority of the public. Communities should have at least one professional full-time worker to provide after-school care and guidance for the children of migrant workers.


In addition, it would be helpful for related laws to be amended to allow children to go to school where they live instead of where their birth was registered. It would also be better if more schools were established and more community after-school services were made available that were affordable and nonprofit.