The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which migrant girls and boys in China are integrated into the education system in urban areas in the context of implementing Education for All (EFA) policies. It explores the educational experiences of migrant children in urban areas, the government and school reactions to the issue of the education of migrant children, as well as the family-related factors that may affect their education. It aims at identifying the underlying factors that contribute to the disadvantages of migrant children in education.
Social exclusion theory is applied in this study to help understand how and why migrant children are marginalized. The study also uses a gender approach to investigate possible gender differences in migrant children’s education based particularly on the Chinese cultural tradition. The study uses qualitative methods in a case study of County X in China, including document analysis, semi-structured interviews and observation.
The research findings indicate that the urban education system remains partly exclusive and that migrant children meet several difficulties in integrating into urban society. The household registration system is regarded as one of the major factors that contribute to the marginalization of migrant children in the city. Migrant girls experience the dual disadvantage of being both migrant and female. The study specifically contributes knowledge about the group of ‘migrant and left-behind’ children. It argues that they experience problems both of adaptation and integration into the urban society and additional disadvantages from being left behind.