Only a quarter of China's workers have a high school diploma.
China's high school enrollment rate is far lower than that of other East Asian countries when they transitioned from middle to high income. Why? A struggling rural school system is the culprit.
Public education is free only through grade 9. Fee based high schools prepare a fraction of students for the grueling college entrance exam. Rural classrooms are held to the same standard as urban ones, but have a fraction of the resources to keep up.
Rural schools face a teaching brain drain.
Low pay, poor conditions, a weak career track, and heavy teaching loads often push teachers away from rural areas. The gap in teacher quality only widens consequently.
A narrow path to success leaves many students stranded.
High stakes testing and the tedium of rote learning in the classroom drive many rural students off the academic track and into the labor market or low quality vocational schools.
The Importance of the Classroom
At REAP, we see what happens in the classroom as an integral part of the learning experience. We are intervening to help bring tailored, effective solutions to both teachers and students in rural classrooms.