Education key to future of China’s economic ‘miracle’
China’s economic “miracle” has pulled 200 million people out of poverty in the past two decades, a feat largely generated by the “necessary evil” of migratory workers. But as the birthrate — pulled down by the “one child” policy and women entering the workforce in larger numbers — drops, China will soon face a series of new challenges: higher salaries, greater demand, and fewer workers. To deal with this, Beijing will have to turn to one often overlooked spoke in the great development wheel: education.
Despite its “rise,” China’s education system — especially in rural areas — remains mostly primitive, underfunded and weighed down by rampant poor health. And yet, the government does not appear to be making the investments and adjustments that will allow future generations of Chinese workers to maintain the country's industrial competitiveness.
Stanford University’s Dr. Scott Rozelle, a specialist on agriculture and rural development in China, was in Taiwan to address Academia Sinica and National Taiwan University on the above challenges. He also spoke at Taipei American School, which I covered for the Taipei Times. The article can be accessed here.