Asia Pacific Education Review

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 361–371 | Cite as

“Be useful to society”: parental academic involvement in rural to urban migrant children’s education in China

  • Lue FangEmail author
  • Rachel C. F. Sun
  • Mantak Yuen


China’s rural to urban migration is the largest population movement in human history. To unpack the intertwining relationship between migration and education, previous research tended to view migrant children as one universally vulnerable category, while ignoring the potential disparity in family socialization and functioning. This study investigated how these rural to urban migrant children in Zhejiang, China, described the ways in which their parents are involved in their education. A total of 30 migrant children (4th–9th Grade, mean age = 13 years) participated in the interviews. The results suggested that although they shared similar socioeconomic background, the high-achieving migrant children reported more parental support in academic socialization at home and in school than did their low-achieving counterparts. The study highlighted the salient role of socio-cultural factors such as perceptions of societal demands in influencing parenting ideology and behavior. The study concluded that the substantial in-group variation in children’s educational experiences might be attributable to differences in parental educational values and parenting styles, which are shaped by the broader social milieu.


Academic involvement China Cultural context Educational experiences Migration Parenting 


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Copyright information

© Education Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Work and Social AdministrationThe University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationThe University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationThe University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong

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