Floating Children Are Struggling To Adapt Education in Cities

dream2by Dream Guo

With the rapid development of the urban economy in China, a lot of laborers migrate to urban areas to seek employment. However, due to the deep-rooted influence from the rural-urban dual social structure, the rural population is restricted by various factors such as the social system, and social concepts. And as a result, it is impossible for the migrant workers as well as their children to become urban residents within a short period. Therefore, some of the children are left behind and the others become the floating children in cities. Nevertheless, the living environment, psychological performance, as well as their social adaptability in the cities will influence their growth and development to a great extent. Especially since the rural education and urban education has a huge gap, the imperfect institution brings difficulties to floating children’s curriculum life.

As a result of the limited financial capital investment of China in compulsory education, and the unreasonable distribution structure, the configuration of urban and rural educational resources is seriously unbalanced. There is a shortage of teachers in rural schools, the majority of teachers in rural areas is not of high quality, and teachers have multiple roles. All these seriously affect the quality of teaching. Children in rural areas also cannot buy regular books and learning materials, they are given pirated textbooks and dictionaries that have many mistakes in the contents.

In addition, the degrees of education of parents in rural area and of parents in urban area differ greatly, leading to different family educations. According to several news sources, some migrant workers choose to play cards rather than accompany their children when they come back home. To a large extent, it reflects the behaviors of children, thus, in the later research by China Youth Daily (2013), the passing rate of “preschool learning ability” is only 29% for rural children and the excellence rate is even only 0.75%. However, the data of the same test conducted to urban children show a passing rate of 98.8% and an excellence rate of 69.7% in “preschool learning ability”. As a result, although rural children possess certain “desire to learn”, their marks in the overall appraisal are less than half of that of urban children, which indicates that rural children lost at the starting line.

The huge gap among with urban children is already a disadvantage for rural children, what is more is when they float to the city, the difference of education level, system and environment will give more pressure to rural children.

Firstly, many incentives can only be enjoyed by children in urban, rural children going to the cities for studying is often discriminated. Even if they could be educated in cities, they would also be discriminated against and can only return to their domicile to enter a higher school. For instance, floating children respond that their tuitions are higher than that of urban children. Secondly, since the migrant workers seldom attend the parents’ meeting and the proportion for family visit is low, however, the major approaches for the teachers to communicate with the parents are family visits and parents’ meetings. As a result, teachers may not know the family situation of floating children, and hence simply neglect them. Thirdly, innovative curriculum and extra-curricular activities require children’s comprehensive quality. Nevertheless, floating children are not available to develop their specialty because of poor family condition. As a consequence, they may feel themselves inferior.

In sum, floating children’s school performance in some ways reflects their adaption to education in cities. It is found in the investigation that children obtain a strong subjective initiative in study. Though facing many difficulties, they would like to study willingly instead of being compelled. Most of them have definite learning goals, hoping to change their own fates through education and improve their living condition.


China Youth Daily, 2013. Survey Stated Some Left-behind Children Could Not Distinguish Colors or Watch Traffic Light. from http://www.cqvip.com/QK/86785X/201304/47138809.html

What a close read of the Isla Vista shooter’s horrific manifesto, “My Twisted World,” says about his values—and ours


In one of my classes, we’re studying colorism in a global context, focusing on the global market for skin lighteners. The horrific violence that just took place in Southern California highlights the dangers of the systematic valuing of lighter skin over darker skin, and a “white is right” ideology. Truly understanding Elliot Rodger’s ‘manifesto’ requires understanding how race, class, gender, sexuality, and mental illness all intersected to shape his view of the world. Terrifying stuff.

Originally posted on Quartz:

I truly didn’t want to read Elliot Rodger’s “manifesto,” in which he told the story of his life and rationalized the horrific acts with which he allegedly ended it in excruciating detail. I certainly didn’t want to write about it. It’s exactly what he wanted, after all: A chance to be noticed, to be recognized—perhaps even to be empathized with.

But after seeing him consistently described as fitting the “typical mass shooter profile” of a young, mentally disturbed white loner, I realized that both the conventional news and much of social media were making a profound and possibly important error. Because if you’re Asian, a single look at his picture is all you need to realize that Rodger was not white.

A little research exposed what should be obvious: Rodger is biracial—the son of British-born filmmaker, Peter Rodger, best known for assistant directing The Hunger Games, and…

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Seeking a stable life in precarious Japan

Help Japan

Help Japan (Photo credit: Ray Schönberger)

Note from Editor: Students are reading Anne Allison’s book Precarious Japan, and sharing their thoughts on how their own future plans are impacted by the instability and insecurity that Allison describes.

Anonymous student post.

I hope that I spend my life with a secure job, getting married and giving birth to a child. However, after reading Anne Allison’s book, I thought that we can’t have too much hope. Now, I’ll state the current situation of  Japan and how can I draw my future plans.

At first, it is hard to get job because a lot of companies decrease their regular employees with the depression. Therefore, the number of irregular workers have been increasing and a lot of youth are experiencing an unstable life. In this situation, the government perform an increase of the consumption tax. This policy is one of the factors that torment the life of low-income group and spread the gap between low-income group and upscale. Moreover, the government plan more increases tax again in 2015 and the gap is estimated to become more critical.

Also, recently, the non-payment of scholarship is in question. Many people may get scholarships when they are students. Of course, this is the money from the government or organization and we have duty to pay it back. 340,000 people, and 79.7 billion yen. According to the Japan Student Services Organization, this figure is the number and amount of non-payment scholarship. It is said that the half of non-payers spend their life with less than 300 hundred yen in year. Many youth are suffering from paying back the money.

The difficulty of finding employment affects not only unstable income but kakusa shakai. If you want to get a secure job in this situation of difficulty finding work, you need to have income and academic background as your own. Whether you can get the good education depends on the earning of your parents. Therefore, the starting point is different depending on the family resources.

In conclusion, it is difficult to have hope for the future in that society. We need to provide for a lot of money, such as increasing taxes, paying scholarships, child-raising, education expenditures of children, and so on. To have a stable life, it is important to get a job at a better company or to have a stable occupation. Companies tend to make a point of academic background. Therefore, what I can do now for the future is learning and experiencing various things at university. Although Japan’s precariousness can’t be changed by the actions of just one person and I don’t know how to change it, I want this society to change into a better one so that everybody can live peacefully.

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Planning a future with family and relationships

Note from Editor: Students are reading Anne Allison’s book Precarious Japan, and sharing their thoughts on how their own future plans are impacted by the instability and insecurity that Allison describes.

by Takashi Nakai

In the first class, when the professor asked me what I want to be, I must have answered that I have no idea. However, as I joined in this class and discuss the contents with some classmates there, I think that I need to have a clear vision of my life, because as I read Anne Allison’s Precarious Japan, I learned a lot from the current precariousness of Japan.

I will start to think the expectations of my work. The author says that there is a large number of irregular workers in Japan. They have as high a risk of being cut off as regular workers. Also, today even if you can be a regular worker, many people might have an uncomfortable impression on their working conditions. One of this is that some workers are forced to work hard beyond their working time. It is not until know these facts that I would like to be a regular worker in the office and when I have to choose what kind of working in the future, I should have no mistake of choosing the office.

Allison analyzes the current relationships of Japan. I begin to think from this what I want to be about them. Today there are many cases that people meet the end of their lives. Especially, this situation may apply to the old who live alone because of the lack of the relationships around the community and their family. When I read or listen to the fact, I strongly hope to avoid dying alone. To do it, I might have to have a family of mine and have children and grandchildren. Add to this, I should have the good relationships of the community, for example: office, family, friends, neighborhood, and so on. In the various kinds of categories, I should have what the term of “ibasho” expresses.

I will make the conclusion about my expectations. After graduating from this university, I may well enter the office and continue to work for long years of my life without the special reasons. On the other hand, needless to say, it is difficult for me to get some job which I am eager to, due to the recession of this society. After all, I think it is essential for me to make many kinds of experiences.

Gogatsu-byou: The “sickness” that strikes Japan each and every May


In the university, the freshness of a new academic year that students and faculty may feel in April can give way to the reality of homework, tests, and grading in May. Thankfully, the May weather is pleasant, so we can seek solace in the warm sun, before the heat and humidity of summer arrive.

Originally posted on RocketNews24:

Gogatsu byou

As well as being the start of the new business and academic year, April in Japan also marks the time when new graduates make their first forays into the world of full-time employment and many companies rotate their staff both to keep them on their toes and help them acquire new skills. It’s a fun, frenetic time of year, and everyone from kids in their new school uniforms to fresh-faced employees wearing crisp, black suits looks tremendously smart and presentable as they hurry to their place of education or employment, eager to make the most of their day.

In May, however, it all comes crashing down. Reality sets in and people start to realise that everything is just as awful as it was before, albeit with a few quirks and a shiny new name badge or lunchbox. The fire in kids’ bellies goes out, the twinkle disappears from new employees’ eyes, and they…

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Nagoya NPO releases survival guide for hikikomori for when their parents are gone


As the post notes, the aging of the parents of hikikomori will present new challenges for Japanese society, as the parents are no longer able to provide support to their children. Will job-hunting strategies be included in the basic living tips?

Originally posted on RocketNews24:

The social phenomenon of hikikomori, where people are compelled to remain confined in their own homes, is not new anymore. What is new, however, is the looming issue of what happens when a hikikomori’s parents become elderly or die.

Recently a scattering of cases has begun involving people who have filed for government support after their parents have died. And with estimates of the hikikomori population hovering around one million in Japan, experts are suggesting this is just the tip of the impending iceberg.

One group called Nadeshiko No Kai out of Nagoya is looking to take the bull by the horns and is nearly ready to issue a manual – the first of its kind – for hikikomori to aid them in becoming independent once their parents are no longer able to help.

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