Purpose – This article aims to analyze inter‐provincial disparities of rural education and the convergence rate, and to discuss the effects of compulsory education reform after 2001. Design/methodology/approach – The article estimates the rural average education years and education Gini coefficients of China's 31 provinces (municipalities) beside Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan from 2001 to 2008, and applies the method of “economic convergence”. Findings – The results show that after the reform of rural compulsory education, inter‐provincial rural education disparities and educational equality have been significantly improved and trend to convergence; nevertheless the convergence rate on inter‐provincial disparities of education equality declines. The defects of the education input system – “county as principle” – has been a factor that restricts the coordinated development of rural education. Practical limitations – This paper suggests that it is necessary for China's provincial and central government to afford the expense of compulsory education. China's present investment system would also worsen inter‐provincial inequities of education. Social implications – Education equality is one of the basic social priorities. In China education equality has been improved; however it could be better if China's provincial and central government afforded the expenses of compulsory education. Originality/value – This paper applies the method of “economic convergence” to analyze China's rural education disparities among its regions.
International Journal of Educational Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 20, 2011
Keywords: Average educational years; Educational Gini coefficients; Convergence; China; Education; Educational policy; Rural areas