An article published in Caixin Online (in Chinese) on March 28, 2014, features REAP research on how to improve high school enrollment rates in rural China.
Yi Hongmei, an assistant professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and researcher with REAP, found that in China's poor rural areas, 63 percent of high school students are not receiving a complete high school education. Yi Hongmei identifies four major causes leading to the high dropout rate: high tuition costs in Chinese high schools; rising opportunity costs of attending high school associated with rapidly increasing wages in the labor market; a lack of academic planning and guidance for high school students; and students with lower scores giving up on their education due to the competitive nature of the Chinese education system.
Yi Hongmei found that both subsidizing high school tuition for poor students and offering conditional cash transfers to students who stayed in school effectively lowered the high school drop out rate, whereas training students in academic and career planning was not an effective means to do so. Furthermore, solving the problem of secondary education in rural China will also require improving vocational schools, which, despite their growing popularity in China, have very low quality in many rural areas.
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