Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2012

Capstone Advisor

Professor Stuart Thorson

Honors Reader

Professor Caroline Tong

Capstone Major

Political Science

Capstone College

Citizenship and Public Affairs

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Comparative Politics | International Relations | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Political Science


This project examines how informal and legal relationships between the Chinese government, migrant communities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are useful for educating migrant workers’ children. Market reforms have increased internal migration of Chinese families and have sparked a growth in non-profit NGOs which assist under-privileged migrant youth. Contemporary Chinese urban education literature notes legal and financial obstacles which prevent millions of migrant students from being entitled to the same education opportunities as their non-migrant peers. I note that creating equitable schooling for migrant youth is highly important for the political, economic, and social health of the Chinese state. By drawing on scholarly research and a series of interviews I conducted with students, school administrators, NGO staff and volunteers, I describe how NGOs activate charity and volunteerism to improve migrant education in China’s urban areas. Yet obstacles such as transparency and accountability problems of the Chinese government and NGOs inhibit their capacity to educate migrant children. I conclude that establishing mutually-beneficial relationships between local governments, businesses, and citizens through the medium of NGOs is important for overcoming barriers which prevent these groups from providing migrant students with equitable schooling.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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