Continuing education and development: an ethnographic study of migrant workers in the Pearl River Delta of China

Jia , Fusheng (2017) Continuing education and development: an ethnographic study of migrant workers in the Pearl River Delta of China. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

In 1984, China lifted its control over rural-urban migration. Large numbers of rural people migrated to the Pearl River Delta for employment. However, their vocational and educational qualifications were seen as inadequate to meet the needs of modernizing enterprises run both by the state and private sector. Over the last decade, Guangdong Provincial Government and Shenzhen Municipal Government launched educational interventions – the Yuanmeng Plans - to promote migrant workers’ education.
This thesis examines two such educational programmes for migrant workers from the perspective of understanding the process and practice of policy-making and teaching, and how far they addressed the needs and aspirations of the migrant workers.
Drawing on ideas mainly from Deleuze and Guattari, I focus on the dynamics of power relations within and across educational institutions, especially in terms of their use of resources, rules, and events as suggested in Kabeer’s social-relations framework, and its implications for learning.
An ethnographic approach was adopted, which helped overcome dualisms such as insider/outsider and researcher/researched, and investigated the processes constituted and developed by these dualisms. One-year fieldwork was conducted in the Pearl River Delta, mainly in a college for migrant workers in Shenzhen City, where I acted as a researcher and a teacher, observing and contributing to curriculum practice.
Findings suggest the government combined administrative control with commercialization, as it allocated funding to educational institutions based on student recruitment. As mainly offering academic courses, the programmes focused on elite migrant workers while excluding other workers through criteria like age and literacy levels. Curriculum practices suggest that tensions existed between the traditional ideology stressing collectivism, selfless devotion and teacher-centred teaching and the new social practices promoting commercialization, personal development and interactive teaching. Migrant workers saw formal and informal learning as inseparable, which, with social connections, contributed to their livelihoods and aspirations.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Katie Miller
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2017 11:54
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2017 11:54
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/63065
DOI:

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