A matter of money? Policy analysis of rural boarding schools in China

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The Chinese government has shifted the pattern of rural schooling over the past decade, replacing village schools with urban boarding schools. The stated goal is to improve school quality, while deploying resources more effectively. However, the new boarding schools fail to provide a safe, healthy environment or protect and enable students’ human rights. This article explores questions of how and why a boarding school policy supposedly intended to narrow the urban–rural educational gap has, in fact, achieved the opposite result, extending social injustice. Adopting a public choice perspective, the article analyses the roles of different stakeholders in the policy arena, including the policy initiator (the central government), the policy implementer (the local government) and policy consumers (children and society). The findings suggest that policy consumers are passive participants in interactions between various governmental bodies and society. Children’s interests are ignored and their rights overlooked in educational policy formulation and enactment. Copyright © The Author(s) 2011.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-249
JournalEducation, Citizenship and Social Justice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011



Zhao, Z. (2011). A matter of money? Policy analysis of rural boarding schools in China. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 6(3), 237-249.


  • Boarding schools
  • China
  • Children’s rights
  • Policy analysis
  • Rural education
  • Public choice