Education key to Shanghai life


By Cao Li (China Daily)

Updated: 2007-01-16 07:31

SHANGHAI: Most immigrants who have a high level of education feel at home in Shanghai, a recent survey shows.

A government survey, covering 800 immigrants, found that most of those with a high level of education and a stable job were leading a happy life in the city, and that the hostility between local residents and immigrants was subsiding.

That means not many Shanghai residents today refer to immigrants as country potatoes. And 80 percent of the immigrants consider themselves part Shanghainese.

The immigrants from other provinces work for 20 companies, schools, academic institutions or government departments, and most of them have university degrees.

Lu Jie, a 29-year-old clerk, feels more at home in Shanghai than in her home-town in Jiangsu Province. "I attended university here and my life is all here," she said. Lu speaks the Shanghai dialect, though with a bit of an accent.

"Shanghai is getting more open and friendly and is full of opportunities I love living here."

Most of those polled share Lu's views, saying the degree of happiness grows with the level of education.

The survey, however, showed the level of comfort varies proportionately with the level of education which decides the nature and quality of job one gets. More than 70 percent with a high school or lower education feel discriminated against in the city.

Also, more than half the immigrants are not confident they will improve their living standards, with over 60 percent not having their own property in the city and nearly 50 percent not seeing any chance of improvement in the next 10 years.

But nearly 70 percent of the respondents said they were here for better opportunities, with 23 percent, who migrated with their family, saying they did so because their kids could get better opportunities.

More than 77 percent of the respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with their life in the city. And over 50 percent considered themselves part of the city's higher or middle social class.

Also, most of them think most Shanghai residents are friendly, though they feel discriminated against at times.

Though 57 percent immigrants said they would marry the person they loved irrespective of which part of the country he or she came from, 27 percent hoped to marry a Shanghai resident.

Asked what their attitude towards the 2010 Shanghai World Expo was, 22 percent sai they felt very proud and another 62.5 percent said they would work harder, hoping to contribute to the event. But an overwhelming 95 percent would like to help others.


(China Daily 01/16/2007 page4)