school centralization in China

An SVG map of China with Jiangsu province high...SVG map of China, Jiangsu province in red; public domain image via Wikipedia

Rethink school closure plan|From Chinese Press|chinadaily.com.cn:
"The school bus accidents in Gansu and Jiangsu provinces have once again highlighted the social problem created by closures and mergers of rural schools. According to official data, from 1997 to 2009 the number of schools in China dropped to 278,836, that is, by almost half. The authorities should take note of the social problem, for it could mar family ties and result in loss of local identity, says an article in Xi'an Evening News. ..."
Deep centralization has indeed happened extremely fast in the Chinese system of mass coerced schooling, a process that the US also underwent (what's wrong with the schools?). It will lead to centralized control issues, as it has in the US, and that will mean issues of fairness, funding, and the development of tools to make this problem an industry. Right now the massive upgrade in literacy makes mass coerced schooling seem a good thing to many. But there are already problems:

China Seethes Over a Rash of Deadly School Bus Crashes (time.com)
But the country's concerned netizens are not convinced: "The problem is that they don't treat those children like human beings," wrote Wang Keqin, an investigative journalist with the Chinese newspaper Economic Observer, on Weibo. "[The Jiangsu accident] is the biggest mockery of the just-released safety guidelines."
and this:
"In general, the guidelines put more emphasis on the government's safety inspection duties, but not enough on the importance of government investments," wrote Xiong Bingqi, deputy director on the 21st Century Education Research Institute and a regular commenter on education issues, on his personal blog. "Because there is a shortage in fiscal investment in rural areas, the schools have to resort to substandard vehicles. That's what ultimately caused the school bus safety problem."
China has entered into mass schooling quite recently. From Wikipedia: 
The Law on Nine-Year Compulsory Education (中华人民共和国义务教育法), which took effect on July 1, 1986, established requirements and deadlines for attaining universal education tailored to local conditions and guaranteed school-age children the right to receive at least nine years of education (six year primary education and three years secondary education). People's congresses at various local levels were, within certain guidelines and according to local conditions, to decide the steps, methods, and deadlines for implementing nine-year compulsory education in accordance with the guidelines formulated by the central authorities. The program sought to bring rural areas, which had four to six years of compulsory schooling, into line with their urban counterparts. Education departments were exhorted to train millions of skilled workers for all trades and professions and to offer guidelines, curricula, and methods to comply with the reform program and modernization needs.
background posts
the compulsory attendance mindset
side effects of the literacy factory model
what's wrong with the schools?
amar bhide
zhao's mass localism: let's get really local

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