From Access to Quality? Examining the Interim Quasi-State Schools for Rural Migrants in Urban China




migrant;, China, low cost school, educational quality, social justice


This article focuses on the educational quality of the newly emerged quasi-state schools for rural migrant children in urban China. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 government officers, school leaders, teachers and migrant parents in Shanghai. Adopting a theoretical perspective of policy as a temporary settlement of interests, the article deconstructs the power relations that constructed the disadvantaged positionality of these schools in the local school system. What can be identified from the empirical data is the emergence of an “interim quasi-state school system” with three interrelated features: it belongs to the state sector, offers quasi-state education and has an interim nature. Under the local government’s low-cost and inferior schooling approach, the whole system is treated as an emergency mechanism for solving the floating children’s schooling problem, rather than as regular schools offering high quality education. While realising the children’s right to education, this system does not guarantee them a “good” education.


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Author Biographies

Hui Yu, School of Education, South China Normal University

Hui Yu (PhD, IOE) is Associate Professor at SCNU School of Education. Dr Yu is an adjunct research fellow at SCNU Centre for Basic Education Governance and Innovation, and at MOE-SCNU Institute for Educational Law. As a sociologist, Dr Yu’s particular research interests include educational policy enactment and cultural reproduction of rural migrant family in urban China.

Wei-Lin Huang, School of Education, South China Normal University

Wei-Lin Huang (PhD, RCM) is Lecturer at School of Education, South China Normal University. Her research focuses on music education and the schooling of migrant children. She is the corresponding author of this paper. 



2021-05-10 — Updated on 2021-06-01


How to Cite

Yu, Hui, and Wei-Lin Huang. (2021) 2021. “From Access to Quality? Examining the Interim Quasi-State Schools for Rural Migrants in Urban China”. Education As Change 25 (June):23 pages.



Received 2020-03-20
Accepted 2021-04-05
Published 2021-06-01