Background: Anemia early in life has been associated with delayed cognitive and motor development. The WHO recommends home fortification using multiple micronutrient powders (MNPs) containing iron as a strategy to address anemia in children under two. We evaluated the effects of a program freely distributing MNP sachets to caregivers of infants in rural China.
Education is widely considered to be the most important form of human capital, especially in less developed countries where the rates of return are generally high for all individuals, including for agricultural producers. However, for schooling to play an important role, the system of education needs to provide quality education, which among other things requires high quality teachers. Unfortunately, in many developing countries there are dramatic differences in the quality of teachers and their effectiveness.
This paper aims to explore and quantify the reading achievement of primary school students from three different regions in rural China. Using survey data on 23,143 students from Shaanxi, Guizhou, and Jiangxi provinces, we find that although gaps in student reading achievement exist among the three sample provinces, all sample students exhibit low levels of reading achievement. Compared to students from other countries that took part in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study reading tests, our sample students from rural China ranked last.
In this paper, we examine the relationship between reading programs and the reading skills/academic outcomes of students in rural China. We find that students exhibited poor reading outcomes in the absence of any treatment. However, increased access to independent reading materials coupled with effective teacher training was associated with higher scores on reading scales and standardized math/Chinese language tests. These results likely arise due to changing views of teachers toward independent reading and improved reading instruction.
This paper aims to investigate student confidence in reading in a developing and middle-income country by collecting and reporting on survey data from 135 primary schools in rural China. In the survey, we adopted and conducted the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) scales of confidence in reading and reading skills test items. Our analysis shows that compared to the other 45 countries/regions that took the PIRLS tests, rural China ranks last (or the lowest) with regard to student confidence in reading and reading achievement.
Rural residents in China today face at least two key decisions: a) where to live and work; and b) where to send their children to school. In this paper we study the second decision: should a rural parent send their child to a public rural school or have him or her attend a private migrant school in the city. While there is an existing literature on the impact of this decision on student academic performance, one of the main shortcomings of current studies is that the data that are used to analyse this issue are not fully comparable.
Affecting more than one billion people around the world, neglected tropical diseases are a group of diseases which mainly occur in poor populations living in tropical and subtropical environments. Although considered a middle-income country, neglected diseases persist in many rural areas of China. Neurocysticercosis (NCC), an infection caused when the larvae of the tapeworm Taenia solium (T. solium) enters the human brain, is a prime example of this. Infection can lead to seizures, severe headaches, decreased cognitive abilities and other debilitating neurologic symptoms.
Despite recent reductions in prevalence, China still faces a substantial tuberculosis (TB) burden, with future progress dependent on the ability of rural providers to appropriately detect and refer TB patients for further care. This study (a) provides a baseline assessment of the ability of rural providers to correctly manage presumptive TB cases; (b) measures the gap between provider knowledge and practice and; (c) evaluates how ongoing reforms of China’s health system—characterized by a movement toward “integrated care” and promo- tion of initial contact with grassroots providers—will affect the care of TB patients.
An increasing number of policymakers in developing countries have made the mass expansion of upper-secondary vocational education and training (VET) a top priority. The goal of this study is to examine whether VET fulfills the objectove of building skills and abilities along multiple dimensions and further identify which school-level factors help vocational students build these skills and abilities.
Empirical evidence from developed countries supports the idea that parent-teacher interaction is high and improves student outcomes. The evidence from developing countries is, however, decidedly mixed. Using longitudinal data that we collected from nearly 6,000 students and 600 teachers in rural China, we show that the prevalence of parent-teacher interaction is generally much lower than that of developed countries, especially for disadvantaged students.
THE FAST PACE OF economic growth in China is in no small part attributed to the massive movement of migrant workers from rural to urban areas. It is estimated that in 2014 more than 168 million migrants were living and working in China’s cities (NBSC 2015). In China, as elsewhere, migration imparts significant benefits to individuals through the higher returns to work; it can also have strong and transformative impacts on both the origin and destination communities (Taylor, Rozelle, and de Brauw 2003; Du, Park, and Wang 2005; Gibson and McKenzie 2012).
China’s rapid development and urbanization over the past 30 years have caused large numbers of rural residents to migrate to urban areas in search of work. This has created a generation of children who remain behind in rural areas when their parents migrate for work. Previous research has found mixed impacts of parental migration on the educational achievement of left-behind children (LBC), perhaps because of methodological deficiencies and lack of recognition of the heterogeneity of this population of children.
Abstract: Social interactions in infancy have implications for long-term outcomes. This study uses data from a sample of 1412 rural Chinese infants aged 6–12 and 24–30 months to examine the relationship between peer interactions and cognitive development. Over 75% of the infants in this sample had less than three peers and around 20% had no peers in both periods. The prevalence of cognitive delays is high within this sample and increases as infants age. Multivariate analysis reveals that peer interaction is significantly associated with cognitive development.
Abstract: Soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) infect over one billion people worldwide. There is concern that chronic infection with STHs among school-aged children may detrimentally affect their development, including their health, cognition, and education. However, two recent Cochrane reviews examining the impact of deworming drugs for STH on nutrition, hemoglobin, and school performance found that randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the literature provide an insufficient evidence base to draw reliable conclusions.
Despite massive investments in teacher professional development (PD) programs in developing countries, there is little evidence on their effectiveness. We present the results of a large-scale, randomized evaluation of a high-profile PD program in China, in which teachers were randomized to receive PD; PD plus follow-up; PD plus evaluation of their command of the PD content; or no PD. Precise estimates indicate that PD and associated interventions failed to improve teacher and student outcomes.
There is a significant gap in academic achievement between rural and urban students in China. Policymakers have sought to close this gap by improving the quality of teaching in rural areas through teacher professional development (PD) programs. Despite billions of dollars in investment, however, there is limited evidence on the effectiveness of such programs. In this paper, we evaluate the impact of a PD program-National Teacher Training Program (NTTP) on the academic achievement of students in rural China.
China’s real GDP per capita has increased at a rate of nearly 9 percent annually since the start of its economic reforms in 1978, the fastest rate of growth that any large country has sustained for such a long period of time. Output is equal to the number of workers multiplied by productivity per worker. Thus, China’s dramatic growth can be broken down into the increases of the size of working-age labor force as a proportion of the population (or, in other words, the decrease of the dependency ratio) and improving labor productivity.
We present the results of a randomized trial testing the impact of providing free eyeglasses on academic outcomes of junior high school students in a poor rural area of western China. We find that providing free prescription eyeglasses approximately halves dropout rates over a school year among students who did not own eyeglasses at baseline. Effects on dropout are mirrored by improvements in student performance on standardized exams in math and aspirations for further schooling
Nearly a quarter of all children under the age of two in China are left behind in the countryside as parents migrate to urban areas for work. We use a longitudinal survey following young children and their caregivers from 6 to 30 months of age to estimate the effects of maternal migration on development, health, and nutritional outcomes in the critical first stages of life.We find significant negative effects on cognitive development and indicators of dietary quality.
The first years of life comprise a critical developmental period that has implications for lifelong outcomes due to rapid brain development and brain malleability during these early years. In these first few years, young children begin to build an important base for their lifelong cognitive, linguistic, and social emotional abilities. The proven importance of this early development stage has encouraged researchers to delve more deeply into the underlying factors that may be associated with cognitive, language and social emotional development during this period.
The first years of life comprise a critical period for social-emotional development that has implications for lifelong outcomes. One factor that is thought to impact infant socialemotional development is parenting behavior and practices, such as reading to, singing to, and playing with their child. In this study we examine the situation of parenting practices and infant social-emotional development among a sample of 1,350 infants aged 18-30 months in rural Shaanxi Province, China.
The education of poor and disadvantaged populations has been a long-standing challenge for education systems in both developed and developing countries. Drawing on data from two randomised controlled trials involving two cohorts of grade 3 students in poor rural minority schools in China’s Qinghai province, this paper explores the effects of computer-assisted learning (CAL) on student academic and non-academic outcomes for underserved student populations, and how interactions between the CAL programme and existing classroom resources affect the programme effectiveness. Results show that CAL could have significant beneficial effects on both student academic and non-academic outcomes. However, when the scope of the programme expanded to include a second subject (in this case, math – which was added on top of the Mandarin subject matter that was the focus of the first phase of the programme), some schools had to use regular school hours for CAL sessions. As a result, the phase II programme did not generate any (statistically) significant improvement over the first phase.