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The Future Foundation of Rural Education

News / July 1, 2016

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.

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China Abandoned its One-Child Policy - Now it must fix the gulf in education between city and country children

News / June 12, 2016

Around 8 per cent of rural children in China take college entrance exams, compared with 70 per cent of urban children. Reap officials believe this is due to a woeful lack of mental stimulation for rural youngsters between birth and the age of three. They say this is the crucial period for neurons to connect in the brain and set a path for a child’s mental ability later in life.

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The Economist: The Class Ceiling

News / June 4, 2016

NO CAR may honk nor lorry rumble near secondary schools on the two days next week when students are taking their university entrance exams, known as gaokao. Teenagers have been cramming for years for these tests, which they believe (with justification) will determine their entire future. Yet it is at an earlier stage of education that an individual’s life chances in China are usually mapped out, often in ways that are deeply unfair.

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Bloomberg: This is How China Prepares for the Big Test

News / June 2, 2016

Hu Huifeng, an 18-year-old high school senior from China’s Jiangxi province, is on a strict regimen. Seven days a week she rises by 6 a.m. for a day of classes in Chinese, English, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and biology, with the last one finishing at 9:50 p.m. “Once I get home, I study until midnight,” she says.

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Wall Street Journal: In Rural China, One-Child Policy Enforcers Push a New Message

News / May 16, 2016

For 30 years, Yu Huajian visited villages in rural China to remind couples to have just one child, to abide by the law and help the economy. He also pursued violators of the much-hated policy and oversaw abortions.

Since the one-child policy was abandoned in October, Mr. Yu and some of the half a million other family-planning workers have knocked on rural doors with a different message: How to play with children, read to them and raise them with better skills.

The shift was abrupt, but Mr. Yu said he has always done what he and leaders thought was best for the country.

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BBC News: Reinventing China's Abortion Police

News / May 4, 2016

Two-year-old Liu Siqi is curled up on her grandmother's lap, complaining of a tummy ache. A man tries to divert her with a squeaky plastic duck.

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Caixin Media: China's Rural Youngsters Drop-Out of School at an Alarming Rate, Researchers Find

News / March 24, 2016

Chen is among the millions of students in rural areas who quit school each year without completing high school. Although there are no official statistics, studies by various research institutions say one in three students in villages – some 3 million teenagers on average – quit school every year before earning a high school diploma.

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Fieldwork Fail: FSI Faculty Share Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Q&A / March 15, 2016

"What do I do about the chickens?"

When assistant professor of medicine Eran Bendavid began a study on livestock in African households to determine impact on childhood health, he'd already anticipated common field problems like poorly captured or intentionally misreported data, difficulty getting to work sites, or problems with training local volunteers.

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Wall Street Journal: An Update on Banking China's 'Three Nong'

News / February 18, 2016


After Mr. Hu retired in late 2012, and China deemphasized his push for a “harmonious society,” less happened with the foreign run rural banks. 

Citigroup Inc. says its network of Citi Credit outlets remains at four – including two in Hubei province – the same it reported in 2011. Spokesmen for both Standard Chartered Plc and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. each say their push into village banking stopped at one outlet.

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CCTV-13: Service for Birth - How will a Million Family Planning Workers Make the Transition?

News / January 20, 2016

On January 9th, China news station CCTV-13 aired a story about REAP's program to train family planning officials who previously enforced the one-child policy, to become early childhood education experts. The original segment was broadcast during News Hour at 10 pm, which has an audience of 1.2 billion viewers.

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Caixin Media: Pilot Program Aims to Give Rural Youngsters an Early Helping Hand

News / January 5, 2016

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. The pilot is being run by the national health commission and the Rural Education Action Plan (REAP), a joint research program conducted by Shaanxi Normal University in the northwestern city of Xi'an, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Stanford University in the U.S. state of California.

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Financial Times: China Migration - Children of a Revolution

News / December 27, 2015

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.

Experts are divided on how much children being raised by grandparents are hurt, in terms of educational or even physical development — or even if there is a negative impact at all.

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Stanford researchers partner with local government to bring vision care to rural China

News / December 10, 2015
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. Targeting underserved rural primary school students in particular, they have implemented a sustainable pediatric vision care system in two counties.
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Wall Street Journal: China Abandons One-Child Policy

News / October 30, 2015

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.

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News China Magazine: Left-behind children and helping hands

News / September 24, 2015

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 needsboth physical and psychological. 

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The Guardian: Future perfect—investing in a child's wellbeing brings a big payoff

News / September 16, 2015
"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. Despite this, ECD programmes still face a number of major barriers – both on the supply and demand side.
"Funding is a huge issue.
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Huffington Post: Can China's One-Child Policy Enforcers Transform Rural Education?

News / August 27, 2015


“You can put off building a highway or an airport, but you can’t put off nurturing a child."

This article is the first in a What’s Working series that looks at innovative policy solutions pioneered by the Rural Education Action Program (REAP), an impact evaluation organization that brings together researchers from Stanford University and China to forge new solutions in rural poverty alleviation.


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REAP’s Perfecting Parenting Project Shows Promise

News / June 30, 2015

Once every week for six months, a special team of family planning workers fanned out across the remote towns of Shaanxi Province or journeyed to isolated villages in the Qinling Mountains, the cradle of China’s civilization and habitat of the world’s remaining wild pandas. Determined to make a difference, the workers braved downpours in the dead of winter and long, treacherous roads to conduct weekly visits to families living in the region’s rural corners.

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Shaanxi Daily: China’s First “Parenting Trainers” Will Be Born in Shangluo

News / April 10, 2015

In Shangluo, tucked away in the distant parts of the Qinling mountain range, 70 officials have already undertaken the assignment of “early child development parenting trainers.”

Yaojiang Shi, Director of the Center for Experimental Economics in Education at Shaanxi Normal University, was brimming with confidence as he received journalists, saying, “before long, they will pass the evaluations and become China’s first generation of parenting trainers.”

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Commentary / March 28, 2015

年关将近,西安东南方167公里外的地级市商洛全境积雪尚未融化。2月11日,星期三, 33岁的李波、31岁的颜淑霞爬上略陡的雪坡路,来到丹凤县商镇黑沟河村。这一天,这两位在商镇计生服务站供职的计生干部要拜访这个国家级贫困县当中的8名0到3岁的幼儿。


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Caixin News Report: New Agenda for China's Feared Family Planners

News / March 28, 2015

As the year comes to a close, the snow still has not completely melted in the city of Shangluo, 167 kilometers southeast of Xi’an.  On Wednesday, February 11th, 33-year-old Bo Li and 31-year-old Shuxia Yan climb the steep, snow-covered sloping road to the village of Heigouhe in Shangzhen, Danfeng county.  On this day, the two officials, who work for Shangzhen Family Planning Services, are paying a visit to the eight newborn to three-year-old children in this nationally designated poverty county.

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