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Technology seen as path to equal education for all

Updated: 2015-05-26 07:27
By Zhao Xinying in Qingdao, Shandong (China Daily)

China has made great progress in using information, communication and technology in the field of education, experts attending a major conference agreed.

Smriti Irani, India's minister of human resource development, said she was pleased to see the initiatives taken by the Chinese government to use ICT in its remote and smallest schools.

"That is something of great interest to me," she said while attending the International Conference on ICT and Post-2015 Education.

The conference was held from Saturday to Monday in Qingdao, Shandong province, and was organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Chinese Ministry of Education.

It was attended by more than 300 delegates from 90-plus countries to discuss the current state and future development of applying ICT to alleviate inequality in education.

Irani said she had also seen the use of ICT in some Chinese high schools, in which urban schools collaborated to provide remote schools with access to the same level of education, which she found very interesting.

She said India was also using ICT to provide quality education in its school and university systems.

"I have seen some reflections of the Chinese initiatives, and I'm sure there are a lot of exchanges that can take place on that basis," she said.

China, with the world's largest education system of 260 million students attending 510,000 schools, is using ICT to reduce inequalities between different schools and regions, Yuan Guiren, minister of education, said at the conference.

Yuan said the Chinese government started investing in the ICT infrastructure for education and developing digital education resources from the 1980s, which laid a good foundation.

In the 21st century, information-based education has become one of China's national strategies, which was made clear in the midterm and long-term development plan for education (2010-20) and China's first development plan for using the Internet in its education system, he said.

All high schools and 74 percent of primary and junior high schools in China have access to the Internet. There are 64,000 classrooms in remote areas equipped with ICT infrastructure and teaching resources, benefiting more than 4 million students.

"Our goal is to form a learning system and environment so that everybody can enjoy good-quality digital education resources by 2020," Yuan said.

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