The overall goal of this study is to examine whether infant feeding practices differ between mothers and grandmothers in rural China. We randomly sampled 1383 caregivers of infants aged 18 to 30 months living in 351 villages across 174 townships in nationally designated poverty counties in rural areas. Results show that ahigh fraction of caregivers of 18- to 30-month-old children living in low-income areas of rural China do not regularly engage in positive infant feeding practices. Only 30% of children in our sample achieved adequate dietary diversity. Only 49% of children in our sample were fed meat in the day prior to survey administration. Few caregivers reported giving any vitamin supplements (such as calcium or iron supplements) to their children. We find that 33% of the children were cared for by grandmothers rather than mothers, and thatgrandmothers feed a less diversified diet to children than do mothers. Most (84%) caregivers rely solely ontheir own experiences, friends, and family members in shaping their feeding behaviors. Overall infant feeding practices are poor in rural China. Grandmothers engage in poorer feeding practices than do mothers. Grandmothers have improved their feeding practices compared to when their own children were young. Our results suggest shortcomings in the quality of infant feeding practices, at least in part due to an absence ofreliable information sources.
Key words: child development, feeding practices, information sources, rural China
Using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development III (BSID III), we examine the rates of developmental delays among infants/toddlers aged 0-3 years old in four major subpopulations of rural China, which altogether account for 69% of China’s rural infants/toddlers and 49% of infants/toddlers nationwide. The data demonstrates that 85% of the 3,353 rural infants/toddlers in our sample suffer from at least one kind of developmental delay. Specifically, 49% of the toddlers have cognitive delays; 52% have language delays, 53% have social-emotional delays, and 30% have motor delays.
Education of poor and disadvantaged populations has been a long-standing challenge for education systems in both developed and developing countries. In China, millions of students in rural areas and migrant communities lag far behind their urban counterparts in terms of academic achievement. When they fall behind, they often have no way to catch up. Many of their parents have neither the skills nor the money to provide remedial tutoring; rural teachers often do not have time to give students the individual attention they need.
The objective of this paper is to assess the nature of China’s human capital. To achieve our objective, we both measure the share of the labor force that has attained upper secondary schooling levels (high school) as well as examine recent trends of 15–17 year olds who are attending high school. Using two sets of national representative data, we are able to show that, while the human capital of China’s labor force is still low (30%), between 2005 and 2015 the share of rural youth who attended high school rose sharply. According to Ministry of Education–reported statistics, in 2015 87% of 15–17 year olds were attending high school, up from around 50% in 2005. Given the recent pronouncements of the government to make high school universal by 2020, the challenges for the education system are to increase the attendance of rural as well as vocational education and training students.
This special issue is based on a seminar held at the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO) in 2017, focusing on human capital. In a panel discussion at the seminar, the audience and speakers posed questions and offered comments. Below are the interactions summarized according to three major topics covered in this discussion, that is, China’s human capital, clusterbased industrial development, and urban development.
This article explores the problem of cognitive delays among toddlers in rural China and the role of their caregivers in producing low levels of cognition (i.e., low IQ). According to the results of a well-tested international scale of child development, the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID), cognitive delays are alarmingly common, and nearly half the toddlers in our sample score an IQ of less than 84 on the BSID test (more than one standard deviation below the mean).
In the 1990s, rural youth from poor counties in China had limited access to college. After mass college expansion started in 1998, however, it was unclear whether rural youth from poor counties would gain greater access. The aim of this paper is to examine the gap in college and elite college access between rural youth from poor counties and other students after expansion.
Can a county-based vision center increase eyeglasses use and improve school performance among primary schoolchildren in rural China? This cluster randomized clinical trial of 31 schools and 2613 participants showed that children who received eyeglasses earlier in the school year performed significantly better on an end-of-year mathematics test than children who received eyeglasses later in the year, equivalent to half a semester. Provision of free eyeglasses also improved children's use of spectacles.
Taenia solium cysticercosis affects millions of impoverished people worldwide and can cause neurocysticercosis, an infection of the central nervous system which is potentially fatal. Children may represent an especially vulnerable population to neurocysticercosis, due to the risk of cognitive impairment during formative school years. While previous epidemiologic studies have suggested high prevalence in rural China, the prevalence in children as well as risk factors and impact of disease in low-resource areas remain poorly characterized.
Abstract: More than 60 million children in rural China are “left-behind”—both parents live and work far from their rural homes and leave their children behind. This paper explores differences in how left-behind and non-left-behind children seek health remediation in China’s vast but understudied rural areas. This study examines this question in the context of a program to provide vision health care to myopic rural students. The data come from a randomized controlled trial of 13,100 students in Gansu and Shaanxi provinces in China.
Economic growth and socioeconomic changes have transformed nearly every aspect of childhood in China, and many are worried by the increasing prevalence of mental health issues among children, particularly depression. To provide insight into the distribution of depressive symptoms among children in China and identify vulnerable groups, we use data from the 2012 China Family Panel Survey (CFPS), a survey that collected data from a large, nationally representative sample of the Chinese population.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the policy and trends in rural education in China over the past 40 years; and also discuss a number of challenges that are faced by China’s rural school system.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors use secondary data on policies and trends over the past 40 years for preschool, primary/junior high school, and high school.
This study aims to investigate the developmental status of rural Chinese children, the extent of interactive parenting they receive, and the relation between the two. A sample of 448 six to eighteen-month-old children and their caregivers were randomly selected from two rural counties in Hebei and Yunnan provinces. According the third edition of the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, 48.7% of sample children exhibited cognitive delays, 40.6% language delays, and 35% social-emotional delays.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).