Recently, an academic consensus has emerged that China should focus its human capital development in rural areas. Rural residents receive only an average of 9.6 years of education, which leaves them ill-prepared for high-skilled work. Yet with the increased mechanization of factories, manufacturing jobs will likely move offshore, or revert back to the West. This is a great risk for an economy transitioning from low-income to high-income status, such as China.
REAP's research has shown that middle school dropout rates in rural China have reached 63%. In addition, psychological problems of rural students are on the rise due to being "left-behind" by migrating parents. China's poorly formed land, residence and education policies have lead to this predicament. It's time for China to implement better policies for rural children. Investing in rural children is investing in the future of China.