Supporting five migrant schools in Shanghai, China

The five migrant schools are given the resources needed to improve their quality of education

In China all children have the right to attend school, but the explosive social and economic growth taking place in the Chinese economy has prompted thousands of rural residents to migrate to the major cities to find work.

It is estimated that one-third of the population of Shanghai now consists of migrants. Many migrant children are unable to access the public school system. This is attributable to a combination of factors, including poverty, inequality and social exclusion, but particularly the Chinese system of allocating education funding on an individual child basis, to the municipality where the child was born (the Hukou system). For migrant families who have moved to other cities, such as Shanghai, to seek employment, their children have no right to attend school and accordingly cannot be enrolled in a local school. The only option available to the parents is then to send their children to one of the private fee-paying migrant schools, often of poor quality, which have sprouted up to meet this need. Many of these schools are in a weak financial position, and the teachers are underqualified, poorly trained and overstretched. The children have next to no play opportunities or facilities and few chances to participate in activities outside the classroom, even though this is important for their psychosocial development. The environment in migrant schools is not particularly child-friendly, and research studies show that migrant children have low self-esteem and a lack of life skills. 

The Hempel Foundation project supports migrant schools in the Jiading district of Shanghai. The project has been developed in partnership with Save the Children, and aims to give these schools the resources they need to improve their quality of education and ensure that migrant children get a good basic education, on a par with that provided at local schools. The initiative will improve the education experience for 10,000 migrant children between 6 and 13 years of age at five schools. The project will also benefit at least 200 teachers, 1000 local residents and school management at each establishment. 

Key project objectives are as follows:

  • training 200 teachers in pupil-centred instruction methods, national educational objectives, classroom management, special support for beginner classes, children's rights and children's participation;
  • establishing and training a group of 15 teachers to provide support and follow-up for a larger group of teachers;
  • training 15 school principals and administrators in general school management and development, financial management and educational objectives;
  • developing  manuals for teacher training and other materials for teachers; 
  • developing a curriculum and instruction materials on life skills and conduct workshops and activities for 10,000 migrant pupils in life skills and health and safety; 
  • conducting training workshops and develop instruction materials for 1000 parents.