Transforming from economic power to soft power : challenges for managing education for migrant workers' children and human capital in Chinese cities

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Journal article

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Asia Pacific Journal of Education

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China, migrant children


In July 2010, the State Council of the People's Republic of China published an "Outline for National Educational Development" with a strong conviction to transform China from an economic power into a country of "soft power" and "strength in human resources". In order to realize such a policy goal, the Chinese government has attempted to review its current education policies and systems to initiate reforms to promote innovation and creativity in education. One of the major reform directions is to foster more collaboration between educational institutions in Mainland China with overseas partners, including institutions from the Greater China region (Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau). Despite the noble policy goals set out by the Chinese government in asserting its soft power through the transformations to be introduced to its education systems and the proposal to engage in international collaborations, many citizens in the Mainland, especially the children of migrant (peasant) workers, are currently confronted with insufficient provision of education. This article critically examines issues confronting peasant worker children's education, with particular reference to the most recent policies and strategies adopted by the governments in Mainland China to deal with the growing educational demands from migrant workers' children. This article will also discuss policy implications for the Chinese government which has failed to deliver quality education to children of peasant workers when China is seeking to become a country strong in human resources.



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Mok, K. H., Wong, Y. C., & Guo, Y. (2011). Transforming from economic power to soft power: Challenges for managing education for migrant workers' children and human capital in Chinese cities. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 31(3), 325-344. doi: 10.1080/02188791.2011.594248