The purpose of this thesis is to examine the practise of governing migrant schools, and to investigate the underlying rationalities behind the governance of education for migrant children, as well as to analyze the extent to which the governance of access to education for migrant children makes it possible to accommodate their future educational needs.
Drawing on two months‘ research in a government-minban migrant school in the Songjiang district of Shanghai, the data demonstrates that the current policy on governing migrant schools has without doubt provided a better education setting for migrant children, as these children are now supported by an annual subsidy, exempted from tuition fees, and given access to a more standardized curriculum. However, when compared to local public schools, the current situation still reveals marginality in terms of the education of migrant children.
By using governmentality theory, I seek to explain Shanghai‘s current governance of education for migrant children through the analytical lens of subjectification, rationality and form of technology. The study suggests that the emergence of issues such as securing China‘s future human resources and China‘s changing attitude towards migrants has highlighted the importance of providing education for migrant children. Following these rationales, the current practises regarding the provision of education for migrant children lie somewhere between supporting (through subsidy and regulation of migrant schools, as well as the promotion of vocational schools) and restricting (via the continued implementation of China‘s National College Entrance Examination (NCEE)).
Nevertheless, under the current wave of decentralization, each locality comes with its own concerns, which makes the practise of governing education for migrant children more varied than ever. Thus, under the current situation migrant children are still left with limited options for accessing education in urban areas.