The family backgrounds of rural Chinese students create a major barrier to their entry into universities and the job market.
This conclusion appears in the 2009 Blue Book of Employment, which is the first of an annual series to be published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The report states: ‘The current reforms of college entrance exams focus on the all-around development of students, but rural students are usually weak in this regard because they do not have enough access to educational resources like their urban peers.’
The report also states that rural students who apply to universities need to get higher academic marks — up to 20 points more — than their urban counterparts because they are often weak in non-academic subjects such as music and sports, which are also considered in the admission criteria.
Due to a lack of adequate social skills and social networking that is typically found in larger cities, rural students also find it more difficult to get good jobs after graduation. Also, their situation is set to get worse with the job market deteriorating because of the financial crisis.
The report suggests that authorities push for more measures in the higher education system to help bridge the widening gap between the rural and urban areas.
China has more than 800 million farmers in its 1.3 billion population. Poor rural students make up the largest group in universities and colleges — 41% in top universities, 46 in average universities and 50% in vocational colleges.
People’s Daily Online quoting from the report said that broken Putonghua and English, poor communication skills and disadvantaged family backgrounds have hindered rural students’ integration into campus life and even their job hunting.