Education is fundamentally a choice. Students choose to do their homework or not, to attend class or not, to take challenging or easy classes, etc. China released statistics today that show that more people are choosing to not go to school. Illiteracy rates in China before the PRC were always high. The character based language system that survives today was never ideal for mass literacy. With construction and other non-skilled labor in cities the most desirable outlet for many rural-born children, it is not surprising that they are quitting school to come to the cities earlier to start earning for themselves and family. Illiteracy shooting up 30 million in 7 years is going to lock in inequality. Those who choose to come to the cities to work instead of learning how to read (a choice that they make based on the rules of the game here that give rural residents few opportunities) will never be able to move up; they will remain a permanent underclass.
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