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Distance education to reach rural areas by 2007
Updated: 2005-01-09 16:59

The Chinese government's program to provide rural schools with long distance education facilities entered its third year at the beginning of 2005.

The Ministry of Education, the State Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance are jointly responsible the program in elementary and middle schools.

According to the three departments' general plan, from 2003 to 2007, China will equip tens of thousands of schools with disc- playing facilities, satellite TV or Internet access.

From the year 2003 till the end of 2004, the three ministries launched two pilot projects to disseminate Internet education in under-developed western China and had helped set up about 140,000 distant education facilities there.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Education, about 530,000 county level primary and middle schools in rural areas account for 88 percent of the country's total schools. These schools have 162 million students, accounting for 81 percent of the total.

Schools in rural areas are known to have poorer performances in terms of education facilities, education resources and teaching staff. For these reasons, China has been working to narrow the gap between the rural and urban education conditions through distance education.

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