It is a priority of China's education policy to promote the development of compulsory education in rural areas and ensure that every child has access to a good education. But the imbalance of education between urban and rural areas remains a reality in the country.
The Ministry of Education has taken measures to solve the problem. However, the education authorities and society as a whole need to explore more ways to promote fairness in education. Now, the rapid development of information technology and general improvement of infrastructure conditions in rural areas are making it possible to narrow the educational gap.
A major problem for rural schools is the lack of high-caliber teachers and a quality curriculum. Today, online education is increasingly seen as a solution to this problem. In theory, teachers at urban schools are able to provide instructions and resources to students in remote villages via online services. Moreover, these Internet-based technologies enable teachers and students to share real-time interaction. But the weakness of online education is obvious too. When the online class is over, the teachers cannot mentor distant students.
To make up for the shortcoming of online classes, some education service providers are finding a solution in the so-called "dual teachers" approach, by which teachers from prestigious schools in the cities give lessons online and the teachers in rural schools mentor students in person. The teachers and students at rural schools can both learn in this way. Now the solution has been accepted by a growing number of schools, and other Internet-based innovation can profoundly reform China's education in future.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Oriental Outlook on January 25)