Last June, a lively and well-equipped preschool opened in one of the poorest villages in Shaanxi province, as part of a pilot project seeking ways to improve childhood development called Nurturing the Future.
In China, left behind kids battle a social stigma, even if their material conditions are sometimes better than that of children living in homes without migrant income. Conventional wisdon, even among grandparents, is that the grandparents of leff-behind children are not capable of raising children who succeed in school or in life.
One simple action—placing eyeglasses on a nearsighted child’s face—can help that child to learn almost twice as much in a single school year. Yet only one out of seven children in rural China who needs glasses actually has them. Researchers at Stanford’s Rural Education Action Program (REAP) are now partnering with local government in China to address this problem.
Chinese leaders implemented the one-child policy in 1980 in an effort to rein in explosive population growth and help raise living standards. It was rooted in a Mao Zedong-era baby boom. China’s population rose by nearly half to about 807 million people in 1969 from when the Communist Party took over the country 20 years before. That led to fears among the leadership that China faced a population boom it couldn’t feed.