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Distance education programs train 6 mln Chinese
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More than six million Chinese have received a college-level education over the past three decades through distance education programs on television, radio and the Internet.

Another 40 million have received training via the country's radio and television colleges, according to sources from a distance education symposium held in Beijing Thursday.

Since 1978, the Central Radio and Television University and 44 provincial radio and TV colleges have been built. It was in that year China first launched distance learning to provide education opportunities for those who can't go to universities.

Such students, those who failed the national entrance exams to universities, could get access to courses broadcast through television and radio nationwide.

At the symposium, State Councilor Chen Zhili called the colleges an important part of the country's higher-learning system. They served as a "backbone" for modern distance education.

They also made it possible for anyone to study at any time in any place, she said, noting they helped achieve education fairness and cultivated talent for the country.

Chen encouraged the colleges to become modern distance education colleges with Chinese characteristics and to contribute more to building a society where every citizen is committed to learning.

Apart from degree-awarding programs, the colleges also spread technical skills. These included soil science, fertilizer science, agricultural energy, agro-machinery and tools, mechanization of farm work, crop-growing skills, water conservation, pest control, farm product storing and processing methods, and vegetable and fruit cultivation.

(Xinhua News Agency February 1, 2008)

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