WRITING RESPONSE 5
Educationand reform in China is a comprehensive book edited by Emily andAlbert. The book draws its focus on the transformative market reformssince late 1970’s in China and how they that improved livingstandards. It also explains unprecedented economic inequalityresulting from education in rural and developed China. Some of thereasons given for restructuring the educational system of China aresupport for economic development with educational reforms occurringat a startling pace. To understand education reform in China chaptertwelve of the book discusses returns to education in rural China.This topic is of profound importance to my study as it explains howeducation affects the development of China. According to Emily andAlbert (2012), education is of primary importance to sustainedeconomic growth. Educated people are efficient producers as comparedto less or not educated people. They are also able to communicateeffectively and make informed choices. Education is a tool thatdeveloping countries use to help rural poor increase their value,build human capital and labor. Rural education thus plays a criticalrole in the development of China.
Morethan 58% of China’s population lived in rural areas in 2004 while46% of its economically active population worked in agriculture(Emily and Albert, 2007). A country like China that is land scarcecan be able to modernize if its most abundant resources and labor areproductive. The importance of education cannot be overlooked as ithelps raise productivity in two ways. Through facilitating the shiftof labor from agriculture to industry and increasing returns to laborwhen people get jobs. The importance of increasing human capitalvalue in rural China faces challenges like lack of governmentcommitment to give it a top priority. Failing to give it adevelopment plan and spending relatively, low on rural education hasled to low rates of rural education. The Chinese government allocatesfew resources for rural education as compared to other developingcountries. Because of low investments in rural education, low ratesof returns have been experienced.
Returnsto education in China are explored through research objectives oneducation and employment in rural China. It also reviews evidence onthe relationship between wages and education. In education andemployment, massive flow of labor into the off-farm sector broughtmillions of rural household’s prosperity during the Chineseeconomic reform era. Elsewhere, wages, education and previousestimates of education returns reflect the nature of labor markets.An empirical framework that describes the data set to generateestimates on the returns of education offers valid evidence on thisissue. According to De Brauw and Rozelle (2007), the low estimates ofeducation returns in rural China are a result of weak labor marketsthat have in the recent years continued to strengthen.
Inmy perspective, returns to education in rural China are a reflectionof what the government has invested in rural education through theyears. Just as farmers sow seeds and expect to have a bumper harvestafter efforts of cultivating their farm, if the Chinese governmenthad invested in rural education the returns would be evident in termsof economic growth and stability in rural China. However, the resultsof returns to education in rural China have not shown a progressivegrowth with time. Resources have not been adequately distributed inrural education over a long time leading to poor returns. Increasingthe access of education in rural China would be an imperative steptowards increasing rural income. The fact that rural China makes up alarger population of the entire Chinese population means that thereis a dire need to invest in rural education. As the larger ruralpopulation becomes empowered through education, China will become aneconomically stable. Making rural education a top priority would be agood thing as it would cater for the young generation who are themost productive source of labor for the population. Most youngchildren are being raised in rural China and there is no better wayof investing in them than through educating them.
Argumentson the need to invest in rural education are discussed in thischapter effectively. There is an existing relationship betweeneducation, employment, wages and labor markets. People who areeducated are likely to get better opportunities of employment andgood wages as compared to less educated individuals. As a result oftheir education labor productivity and markets are likely to expandand evident growth can be seen. According to Emily and Albert (2007),studies on the rural economy reveal low returns as compared to urbanChina. The low returns are a result of few people being educated inrural China. Without education, it becomes impossible to be a goodcommunicator and make informed choices. Studies have found compellingevidence on the importance of rural workforce education. Educationamongst the rural workforce creates efficient producers and increasesthe value of labor. The effectiveness of rural education infacilitating off farm work access has also been documented throughpast researches.
Inconclusion, returns to education in rural China have played animportant role in shaping education and reforms in China.
DeBrauw, A. and Rozelle, S. (2006).”Reconciling the returns toeducation in off farm wage employment in rural China,” Reviewof development Economics forthcoming. Retrieved fromhttp://fsi.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/rozelle-returns-to-edu-rural-china.pdf
Hannum,E., & Park, A. (2007). Educationand reform in China.London: Routledge.