Making Equitable Education in Rural China through Distance Education
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China has made great strides toward universalizing basic education in rural areas over the past two decades, yet wide urban-rural and East-West disparities in schooling access and quality not only remain, but are growing. In 2003 the "Distance Education Project for Rural Schools" (DEPRS) was launched by the Chinese government to improve the quality of basic education in rural areas of China, especially that of the poorer western provinces. Chinese scholars refer the DEPRS as "the largest ICT (Information & Communication Technology) project in the world up to now" as "it serves a larger population than any other similar programs do". Little attention, however, has been paid to the project in the English world so far. This paper offers a descriptive analysis of the effectiveness and cost efficiently of the DEPRS. Through exploring if, how and to what extent ICT facilitated distance learning has promoted basic education in remote rural areas, it hopes to shed light on the ongoing debate on the issue in the international distance education community.