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On-line Education Gives Pupils Equal Opportunities
In a remote middle school in west China, students watch experiments performed by a qualified physicist, and all their teacher has to do is to click the mouse.

This takes place at Xuanhua Middle School which is in Yongchuan County, Chongqing Municipality, where the Internet is now widely used in schools. The Internet gives students access to a high standard of teaching and information coming from across the country.

China's Ministry of Education decided in 2000 to distribute information technology to 90 percent of primary and middle schools in five to ten years. In the 10th five year plan from 2001 to 2005, China has projects to computerize educational information, to improve the overall standard of education.

According to officials with the Ministry of Education, computers with basic information software have been distributed to over 15,000 high schools as well as to 70 percent of middle school students. By the end of last year, campus-wide information systems had been set up in over 15,579 middle and primary schools, where one computer is shared by 51 students.

This year the government has begun efforts to set up 10,000 receivers for tele-education in west China in a bid to equip local primary and middle schools with computers, televisions and aerials to share national educational resources.

The government is expected to invest more in west China to relieve the shortage of educational resources caused by the unbalanced economic development.

Yuan Chengchen, vice director of the science and technology department in the Ministry of Education, said over 70 percent of the colleges have set up campus-wide information servers and most of these colleges now have multi-media classrooms. The Internet has become an indispensable part in campus life.

"However these schools are not yet on an equal footing with schools in east China or relatively rich areas, "Yuan said, "This year China has allocated over 900 million yuan (US$108 million) to set up campus-wide information servers in 152 colleges in west China."

Tele-education can help overcome space and time barriers in traditional education and help provide lifelong education. The Ministry of Education has ratified 67 colleges to hold tele-education through the Internet and so far 608,000 students have enrolled.

(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2002)

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