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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

This is Mo Renjiao. She is an orphan supported by her grandmother who is at least 82. She is an excellent student. She will soon be old enough to be a middle school student. Country children between the ages of 12 and 14 usually must become boarding students to continue in middle school. That is a dangerous point when children often miss out on further education, since they cannot afford the added expense of living away from home and also tuition.

After they pass a special test at age 14 they can go on to middle high school until age 18, but middle high school tuition is not government subsidized at all. Since poor students, who are excellent students, have to depend on sponsors willing to support them in school, children over 14 really face a divide that determines their future lives. Many drop out to enter the labor force and support their families. Passing the test to get into college still does not solve their problems since college fees, though low, are often out of reach for them and their families.