Late last year, we told you about the Communist Party’s plan to loosen school entry restrictions for children of migrant workers in Guangdong Province and throughout China. At the time, there was little else revealed about how the Education Department planned to relax the long-standing household registration policy, or hukou, which has barred children of migrant workers from even applying to many universities and university-track high schools. Last week, however, the Guangdong Education Department finally released some specifics, and predictably, it’s complicated. According to the department, before migrant children are eligible to sit the Guangdong entrance exam, they must satisfy the following requirements:
1. The student’s father or mother must have legal and stable work in the province.
2. The student’s father or mother must have legal and stable residence in the province
3. The student’s father or mother must have a valid Guangdong residence permit for at least three consecutive years. Moreover, the expiry date of the permit must be later than the date of the entrance exam.
4. The student’s father or mother must have made social insurance contributions for at least three years.
5. The student must have sat the High School Enrolment Exam in Guangdong.
6. The student must have studied at a Guangdong high school for three years.
But that’s not where it ends. According to China Labour Bulletin, to complicate matters further, some Guangdong cities have applied additional restrictions. In Guangzhou for example, admissions for non-local high school students are capped at 10 percent of all students. While in Dongguan, students have to attend a local middle school for at least three years before they are eligible to sit the high school entrance exam.
Finally, in Shenzhen, eligibility is based on proximity to the school the student wants to attend. In other words, if the family cannot afford to live in the school’s district, which, due to rising housing costs relative to the income of migrant workers is typically the case, the student is ineligible.
Initial reports had stated that the new rules would allow the children of migrant workers to apply on “equal footing with legal residents”. It would appear there’s still a long way to go before that’s a reality.