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.
As millions of migrant workers flock to China's cities in search of factory jobs, they are leaving an estimated 60 million children at home in rural areas without one or both parents. In response, the government has invested heavily in boarding schools. However, these boarding schools often fail to meet students' basic needs—both physical and psychological.
"It’s encouraging to see “access to quality early childhood development” as one of the SDG targets. Policymakers have recognised that investing in children’s development is a way of investing in future social and economic growth. It can also result in more immediate benefits, such as preparing children to get the most out of school.