More than 2 million children of migrant workers in China are studying at private or “illegal” schools as of 2014, according to a report released on Tuesday.
China's first blue book of children of migrant workers was released by the 21th Century Education Research Institute, saying that poor preschool education and a lack of family guidance are two of their biggest problems.
China has about 100 million children of migrant workers and left-behind children.
Over the last few decades, hundreds of millions of rural laborers moved to big cities for work. While most of their children have remained in their villages, usually being raised by grandparents, others have joined their parents.
Research conducted in Shanghai and Chongqing municipalities, as well as in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province in 2015 showed that expensive schooling is the biggest problem facing migrant workers, with 64.38 percent of them in Guangzhou saying that public kindergartens are not enough and 48.13 percent saying that private kindergartens charge higher fees.
Furthermore, kindergarten teachers have lower academic degrees, most of whom don't have a bachelor's degree. Overworked and underpaid, many kindergarten teachers choose to resign. For example, 52.6 percent of teachers at kindergartens in Shanghai have less than one year of experience, and only 10.5 percent have been working for more than three years.
The report said a lack of family guidance has also affected the children's growth. It said parents have high expectations of their children but could not provide sufficient support for them, and that they pay more attention to the results instead of process.
The report added that criticism, even physical abuse, frequently occurs in education, with 59.3 percent of parents in Chongqing saying they use a combination of instruction and criticism to educate their children.
In recent years, the central government has encouraged more private investment and providing subsidies to support the preschool education of migrant workers' children.
The government should narrow the gap between investment in urban and rural education and spare no effort in providing a balance in the region, said Lu Jianfei, a professor at Shanghai Normal University who led the research.