From a Virtuous Cycle of Rural-Urban Education to Urban-Oriented Rural Basic Education in China: An Explanation of the Failure of China’s Rural School Mapping Adjustment Policy
Jing Rao and Jingzhong Ye
(Corresponding author: Jing Rao, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Journal of Rural Studies, 2 July 2016 (published online)
Abstract: This paper explores the historical transformation of the rural education system and the mapping of rural schools in ancient, modern and contemporary China to explain the problems of the Rural School Mapping Adjustment (RSMA) policy. The value and purpose of the rural basic education system and school mapping adjustment are “urban priority and urban oriented”, which is the fundamental reason for the failure of the RSMA. A diachronic study of the history of China’s urban-rural relationship indicates that the relationship of traditional China’s urban-rural education was a virtuous cycle in which the city and the countryside were completely equal and reinforced each other. The promotion of modern education in the late Qing Dynasty severely undermined that virtuous cycle, leading to an urban-oriented rural education and the destruction of traditional values and a loss of the traditional ways of teaching. Although China has attempted to reduce the disparity between cities and the countryside by increasing the public financial investment in rural basic education after achieving a universal basic education, our case study in a village in North China demonstrates that the urban-oriented school mapping adjustment takes a toll on the rural area and exacerbates the problem of educational inequality, which actually increases the gap between urban and rural areas and between the rich and the poor. The conclusion is reached that the Chinese government should strive to develop a rural-oriented and rights-based rural basic education system and school mapping adjustment.
Keywords: Rural education, Rural School Mapping Adjustment, China