AAUW 1991-92 International Fellow Dali Tan and her sister Dawei Tan conducted research in Hubei Province, China in order to find out what the root causes for girls (and boys) dropping out of school were, and how they were being addressed by individual teachers, provincial governments, and at the national level.
To do this, the team first completed a literature review, then visited the Education Commission and All-China Women’s Federation, and Bureau of Statistics of Hubei Province to get a more refined look at girl specific numbers and challenges in the area. They then prepared and distributed questionnaires to 600 schools in five counties in Hubei which were economically diverse to get the most thorough result. Of these, 303 were properly filled out and returned. Based on these returns, Dawei Tan then visited 18 schools which had been successfully reducing the dropout rate for girls through a number of strategies.
Overall, the researchers found that local primary and secondary schools in Hubei Province were doing a lot of different things to mitigate the dropout rate of girls, some more successfully than others. The biggest challenge was family poverty and the need for girls to work.