Net Paves Way to An Education

A disabled Beijing teen-ager recently become the first student in the country to finish all junior high school courses with the help of the Internet.

As a result, he has been given the option of pursuing further study at a key senior high school, said Xinhua news agency.

Wang Huansheng, 17, can't walk because of an illness. Neither can he go to school like other students.

Wang lost the ability to walk when he was 7 and underwent eight major operations in the next seven years.

However, he never lost the desire to receive an education like his peers. He spent half of his primary school days in bed teaching himself and his hard work resulted in a ranking among the top five in the class he never sat in since his illness.

When he entered middle school, however, he could hardly keep up with the rest of the class because of his illness.

Many people advised his family to hire a teacher, but it was too expensive for his parents with a monthly income of less than 1,000 yuan (US$120). Leaving school seemed the only choice.

That's when Li Rong, Wang's mother, read about online schools in a newspaper.

The Internet had been introduced in China merely a few years earlier.

Supported by his relatives and friends, Wang Huansheng bought his first computer and began his new middle school studies online.

Huiwen Network School, a Beijing online school for primary and middle school students, also offered Wang free study at the school.

Ding Jing, principal of Huiwen, often visits Wang and brings him learning software and materials.

"The teachers (at Huiwen) designed a specialized curriculum for Wang because he has to rely fully on the Internet to finish his normal study while other students use it only to assist them," Ding said.

Wang spent a limited number of days at his school, and many more hours online. He downloaded his tutorial learning materials following the pace of the network school and answered the questions raised by the teachers online.

In this way Wang has learned how to design his home page and use the Internet applications, while getting good scores for his middle school courses.

However, network schools are still not accepted as institutions for diploma education, which means the students can't get their diplomas directly from those schools. But Wang's ability was recognized when he easily passed regular school exams.

"It is no problem for him to study the courses for under-graduates or even post-graduates," Ding said.

"My dream is to study in the computer department of a well-known university and find a programming job at home," Wang said.

Wang's success is typical of the fast development of the Internet, where the construction of a nationwide information highway started in 1995, Xinhua said.

(Eastday.com.cn 09/03/2001)

In This Series

Shanghai Builds New Home for Orphans, Disabled

Disadvantaged Groups Getting More Care

More Disabled Students Have Normal Schooling



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