According to the Education Bureau of Funan County, east China's Anhui Province, 8,275 rural students have come back from cities to local primary and middle schools in rural areas as the autumn term begins in September this year. So many students return because these schools have been improved in terms of teachers and facilities, said the local education authority. Therefore, students of rural families don't need to go a long way to reach schools located in urban areas every day.
Students of primary and middle schools had to move to urban schools as many village schools were closed or merged due to declining enrollment rate several years ago. The growing demand among rural families for better education quality has also spurred the outflow of students. As a result, most rural schools are faced with shortages of both teachers and students.
Meanwhile, the influx of students into urban schools has brought a number of problems, such as schools becoming too crowded to ensure teaching quality and increasing the economic burden of rural families. More importantly, the outflow of children and their parents is affecting the sustainability of rural areas.
Thanks to the poverty alleviation efforts in recent years, the education in rural areas in Anhui Province has been greatly improved, with facilities enhanced and teachers' salaries increased.
The backflow of students in Funan demonstrates China's progress in improving educational equality. Many other counties in Anhui have witnessed the same change that will benefit rural population and development of rural areas.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Yanzhao Evening News on September 19)