chapter  1
Schooling and Inequality in China
ByGerard A. Postiglione
Pages 22

As a national issue, educational inequality continues to haunt China.1 More than a half century after the Communist Revolution, the elimination of most educational inequality remains an elusive goal. Many households cannot afford to send their children to school. Rural Chinese counties continue to struggle over how to fund nine-year compulsory education.2 Many villages went into debt when they tried to universalize nine years of compulsory education.3 Even after tax reform, when the collection of education fees was curtailed, the debt in some areas could not be repaid and creditors blocked off local government buildings, sealed off school gates, and even roughed up teachers and principals.4 Due to insufficient funds, a number of rural areas lack the basic conditions necessary for compulsory education, including desks and teaching aids such as chalk and paper.5 The effect of insufficient funds has also devastated the teaching force as many teachers leave for counties and cities or cross the border, where conditions are better.6