Will On-screen Studying With City Peers Really Help Change Rural Students’ Fate?
The No.7 Middle School in Chengdu, southwest China, is a star in its own right. In 2017, more than 30 students who passed out of the school got enrolled in prestigious universities like the University of California, the United States, and over 70 entered Tsinghua University and Peking University.
Recently, another feat by the school has gone viral. It was reported that 248 middle schools in remote and impoverished areas in Yunnan, another province in southwest China, which lack resources and are not doing well have an innovative tie-up with the star school.
When the No.7 Middle School holds classes, the lessons are shared with 72,000 students from the Yunnan schools through live broadcasts, thanks to a program launched by the school with Eastedu, a sci-tech company. Since the initiative was started in 2002, many students from the remote schools have been able to enroll in undergraduate universities while 88 made it to China’s top two universities. The success made William Ding, CEO of one of China’s leading Internet companies Netease, offer to contribute 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) to the program.
However, public opinion is divided on the role such distance learning can play in changing rural students’ fate. Some think such programs will help to narrow the ruralurban education gap, while others think it’s far from enough.
More needs to be done Yang Jie (cbgc.scol.com.cn):
Some people may say that the number of students from rural areas who got admitted to Tsinghua University or Peking University is too low. However, students in impoverished areas don’t need to go to the top two universities to change their lives. One merit of the initiative is that many students get access to study materials that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. These materials open up a new world for them and they can study harder, which can lead them to college. These colleges may not be prestigious ones, but will still lift them out of poverty and backwardness for good.
Fate of course is not easily changed. But this live screening has somewhat filled the gap in education quality between rural and urban areas. It offers a possibility and hope for these students to catch up. Otherwise, no matter how hard they study, they can’t compete with students who have easy access to all kinds of quality education resources. As a result, they get edged out on the playing field of gaokao (the national college entrance examination, known as China’s iron gate because of the high percentage of failures). In this sense, to develop the Internet Plus education is a crucial supplement to education in remote areas.
But the live screening alone will not fill the huge gap between rural and urban education. Those who have access to the Internet classes are mostly good students. Generally, ordinary students, even if they can attend such classes, will not be able to catch up. This makes us realize that Internet Plus education is not sufficient. More should be done to promote education in backward areas. The live screening is just a start and a trend. In order to change the fate of more children, a lot remains to be done.
Southern Weekend): China’s educational resources are not evenly distributed, so some schools are much better than others, and these prestigious schools send a large number of graduates to prestigious universities. The No.7 Middle School in Chengdu is one of them.
Through distance education, the middle school is now sharing its valuable educational resources with schools in backward areas. In the past, few students from these schools could enroll in prestigious universities, but now thanks to this program, these schools have their students admitted to Tsinghua University and Peking University.
Some say that this sharing of resources is in essence a company’s live broadcast sharing and is part of its operations to generate profits. The key reason some students from these remote areas were enrolled in the top universities is that these universities have lowered the threshold for students from disadvantaged regions.
The gap between rural and urban areas, in terms of education, defies our imagination. I don’t believe that students in Yunnan can entirely follow what the teachers are imparting in the classrooms in Chengdu.
Of course, miracles do happen sometimes with a small number of individuals. As long as schools in Yunnan pay sufficient heed to local education and input as much as they can, some students with good aptitude who study hard will improve their academic performance.
Education plays the biggest role in changing the fate of rural children. A lot of factors are responsible for the big education gap, so relying on live broadcast alone is not enough. Most left-behind children, for example, don’t even have a normal family environment or their parents nearby to take
Zhang Ming (