When it comes to the children and their educational needs, migrant children are excluded from the government-provided primary education in the cities. Although policy states that a child with a rural hukou (registration) can attend school in a city like Shanghai, they first must have secured seven separate certificates. This is a stipulation the local government knows most migrants will not meet, and insulates them from needing to accept migrant children into their urban school system. Without a hukou, the family is required to pay tuition in order to enroll their child in school. Tuition is expensive and 90% of families pay upwards of 1000 RMB per semester for the tuition and other fees and costs of educating their child. This is a great hardship when one considers the average income of a migrant family is 1000 RMB a month. These facts, coupled with the knowledge that many migrant families have more than one child, brings to light the difficulties facing these families.
In order to accommodate the thousands of children needing education, privately operated migrant children’s schools have been established, but these are usually inadequate in providing a quality education. Migrant schools are lacking greatly in finances and the shortage of resources affects the quality of education offered. The schools are unable to meet even the minimum standards set by the government and often are not licensed. There is a lack of properly trained teachers, and the schools experience a high rate of attrition due to poor salary and less than ideal conditions. They lack sports equipment of most kinds, sometimes just using cast-off balls left by government schools. Migrant schools have inadequate and even hazardous buildings. Computers and other media equipment are scarce and often inoperable. Most schools lack even basic first aid supplies. Many of these schools operate ‘under the radar’ and exist without government approval or licensure.