If 1/3 of the population of Beijing consists of migrant workers, then the city authority better watch out. Sooner rather than later the anger and frustration will erupt into something very violent. That applies equally to central government unless it reforms the Hukou system that is at least two if not three decades out-of-date.
SCMP: “Dozens of frustrated parents crowded into a Beijing office, surrounding an education official and brandishing copies of the constitution to demand their children be allowed to take an exam.
Mothers and fathers around the world fight to send their children to the best schools they can, in the hopes of drastically improving their futures.
But China’s migrant families are victims of a decade-old residency system that denies urban incomers equal access to advantages from jobs and healthcare to the right to buy a home or car – and education.
Chinese university admission is based on a single test, the “gaokao”.
Cities such as Beijing that host China’s best universities – and large incomer populations – only allow those with official residency permits, or “hukou”, to take their exam and benefit from preferential quotas for places.
Around a third of the capital’s 20 million population are migrants, but many of their families become split by rules requiring their children to go to their “home” provinces – even if they have never lived there – sometimes for years, to study for and take the test, which varies by location.
Even then, because of the quota system they will have to score higher to win places at top schools.
“Either you let the country share in your education resources or you accept the reality that outsiders are stuck in your education gutter,” said Du Guowang, a 12-year Beijing resident from Inner Mongolia.
He and dozens of parents packed Beijing’s education bureau each week hoping – in vain – it would let their children take next year’s exam. But registration closed last week.
“This will directly affect their studies and their future prospects so of course it’s unfair,” said Xu Zhiyong, a prominent legal activist who has assisted the parents.
Over the past three decades more than 230 million people – four times the entire population of Britain – have moved to China’s cities in a phenomenal mass migration.
The hukou system restrictions date back to 1958, when the government sought, among its many controls, to designate where people should farm in rural areas, and work or live for those in towns.
It has loosened the rules in recent decades to encourage urbanisation, and acknowledges the need to better accommodate newcomers – especially as resentment mounts over China’s widening rural-urban inequality.
At a key gathering of the ruling Communist Party last month, President Hu Jintao urged officials to “accelerate” hukou reform and work to “ensure that all permanent urban residents have access to basic urban public services”.
But bigger cities are less willing to share residency or benefits, fearing doing so would burden their already strained resources and spur a new influx.
Some point to congested roads and overcrowded hospitals to argue that cities cannot handle larger loads.
But critics say the system is discriminatory.
Full reform would need years, but should begin sooner to defuse resentment, said Wang Zhenyu, deputy director of a public policy research centre at China University of Political Science and Law.
“From the basics like education and healthcare to social security to employment to buying a home or car, hukou-based discrimination covers every aspect,” he said. “Your hukou will affect you your entire life.””
via Testing time for China’s migrants as they demand access to education | South China Morning Post.