ICT in Chinese Higher Education: Opportunities and Challenges

ICT in Chinese Higher Education: Opportunities and Challenges

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3438-0.ch072
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A recent report from China Internet Network Information Center indicates that by the end of June 2015, 668 million Chinese have used the internet, which places China as the country with the most internet users in the world. As more Chinese get online, the internet has been integrated into providing education in China, where the age group using the internet the most often is between the ages of 20 and 29. Many of these youth are higher education students. With 34.6 million students the Chinese higher education system is the largest in the world, in which a significant proportion of the students' learning has been impacted by information and communication technology (ICT). The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of how the development of ICT in China has influenced higher education, what opportunities ICT offers for higher education, and what challenges Chinese face in further developing higher education with ICT.
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Development And Opportunities

To make higher education more accessible, in 1999 four Chinese universities started using information and communication technology (ICT) to provide distance education programs to students who otherwise were not able to attend higher education institutions. Today 68 universities are approved by the Ministry of Education to provide distance education programs with ICT (Zheng, 2015). The largest university providing distance education programs with ICT is the Open University of China. In addition, the vast majority of Chinese universities provide programs or courses utilizing ICT. The admission rate for distance education programs is higher than that for face-to-face programs. A significant proportion of distance education program students are people who have not been successful in entering a face-to-face program, because their higher education entry examination grades are not high enough (Xiong, Xie, & Wu, 2010). Distance education program students tend to be older, many of them already have a job, and many of them study for a certificate or diploma, not a degree.

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