In late January 2020, China’s government initiated its first aggressive measures to combat COVID-19 by forbidding individuals from leaving their homes, radically limiting public transportation, cancelling or postponing large public events, and closing schools across the country. The rollout of these measures coincided with China’s Lunar New Year holiday, during which more than 280 million people had returned from their places of work to their home villages in rural areas. The disease control policies remained in place until late February and early March, when they were gradually loosened to
Previous literature suggests subpar teaching is a primary reason why rural Chinese students lag behind academically. We initiate an investigation into the potential of educational technology (EdTech) to increase teaching quality in rural China. First, we discuss why conventional approaches of improving teaching in remote schools are infeasible in China’s context, referring to past research. We then explore the capacity of technology-assisted instruction to improve academic performance by examining previous empirical analyses. Third, we show that China is not limited by the resource constraints of other developing countries due to substantial policy support and a thriving EdTech industry. Finally, we identify potential implementation-related challenges based on the results of a preliminary qualitative survey of pilots of EdTech interventions. With this paper, we lay the foundation for a long-term research investigation into whether EdTech can narrow China’s education gap.
Can a county-based vision center increase eyeglasses use and improve school performance among primary schoolchildren in rural China? This cluster randomized clinical trial of 31 schools and 2613 participants showed that children who received eyeglasses earlier in the school year performed significantly better on an end-of-year mathematics test than children who received eyeglasses later in the year, equivalent to half a semester. Provision of free eyeglasses also improved children's use of spectacles.
Abstract: More than 60 million children in rural China are “left-behind”—both parents live and work far from their rural homes and leave their children behind. This paper explores differences in how left-behind and non-left-behind children seek health remediation in China’s vast but understudied rural areas. This study examines this question in the context of a program to provide vision health care to myopic rural students. The data come from a randomized controlled trial of 13,100 students in Gansu and Shaanxi provinces in China.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to produce a high-quality measure of the nature of healthcare resources available in China’s Township Health Centers (THCs), paying particular attention to equity between high- and low-income areas.
Design/methodology/approach – This study makes use of data from a nearly nationally representative survey in rural China conducted by the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2011. The samples of towns were selected randomly from 25 counties located in five provinces from different regions of China. Data were collected through questionnaires and direct observation.
Findings – The THCs located in rich areas have higher levels of human resources than poor areas. THCs in rich areas also have more fixed assets than those in poor areas. In fact, even though the Chinese Ministry of Health mandates that all THCs have certain basic levels of medical equipment and facilities, many THCs in poor areas do not have them. The allocation of mandated equipment is unequal.
Practical implications – These findings suggest that China’s government should pay more attention to THCs located in poor areas, especially in light of new initiatives to improve health care in poor rural areas.
Originality/value – This is the first nationally representative study to employ rigorous empirics to investigate the extent of inequality in allocation of resources within THCs across China.
Keywords China, Health, Inequality, Rural development, Medical resources, Township health centers
Paper type Research paper
Recent attention has been placed on whether integrating Information Communication Technology (hereafter, ICT) into education can effectively improve learning outcomes. However, the empirical evidence of the impact of programmes that adopt ICT in schooling is mixed. Theory suggests it may be due to differences in whether or not the ICT pro-grammes are integrated into a teaching programme of a class. Unfortunately, few empirical studies compare the relative effectiveness of programmes that integrate ICT into teaching with the ones that do not. In order to understand the most effective way to design new programmes that attempt to utilize ICT to improve English learning, we conducted a clustered randomized controlled trial (RCT) with some schools receiving ICT that was in-tegrated into the teaching programme of the class; with some schools that received ICT without having it integrated into the teaching programme; and with other schools being used as controls. The RCT involved 6304 ﬁfth grade students studying English in 127 rural schools in rural China. Our results indicate that when the programme is integrated into the teaching programme of a class it is effective in improving student test scores relative to the control schools. No programme impact, however, is found when the ICT programme is not integrated into the teaching program. We also ﬁnd that when ICT programmes are inte-grated into teaching, the programmes work similarly for students that have either high or low initial (or baseline) levels of English competency. When ICT programmes are not in-tegrated with teaching, they only raise the educational performance of English students who were performing better during the baseline.
The education of poor and disadvantaged populations, particularly those from minority subgroups, has been a long-standing challenge to education systems in both developed and developing countries (e.g., World Bank 2001, 2004; Glewwe and Kremer 2006; Planty et al. 2008). For example, over the past decade in the United States the high school dropout rate of Hispanic students has remained at least twice as high as that of white students (Aud et al.
Computer assisted learning (CAL) programs have been shown to be effective in improving educational outcomes. However, the existing studies on CAL have almost all been conducted over a short period of time. There is very little evidence on how the impact evolves over time. In response, we conducted a clustered randomized experiment involving 2741 boarding students in 72 rural schools in China to evaluate impacts of CAL programs over the long term. Our results indicate that a CAL program that was implemented for one year and a half increased math scores by 0.25 standard deviations for third graders and 0.26 standard deviations for fifth graders. In addition, we have shown that students gained in math learning in both CAL Phase I (which ran for one semester in spring 2011) and CAL Phase II (which ran for both semesters of the 2011–2012 academic year) programs. By testing for heterogeneous effects, we find that the CAL intervention worked well for both the poorer performing and better performing students in the third and fifth grades.We also find that the third grade girls seem to have improved more than the boys in math in the short term (CAL Phase I).
Using a survey of 19,977 children in two provinces, this paper explores the prevalence, correlates and potential consequences of poor vision among children in China's vast but understudied rural areas. We ﬁnd that 24% of sample students suffer from reduced uncorrected visual acuity in either eye and 16% in both eyes. Poor vision is signiﬁcantly correlated with individual, parental and family characteristics, with modest magnitudes for all correlates but home province and grade level. The results also suggest a possible adverse impact of poor vision on academic performance and mental health, particularly among students with severe poor vision.
This paper examines the prevalence of vision problems and accessibility to and quality of vision care in rural China. We obtained data from 4 sources: 1) the National Rural Vision Care Survey; 2) the Private Optometrists Survey; 3) the County Hospital Eye Care Survey; and 4) the Rural School Vision Care Survey. The data from each of the surveys were collected by the authors during 2012. Thirty-three percent of the rural population surveyed self-reported vision problems. Twenty-two percent of subjects surveryed had ever had a vision exam.
Recent attention has been placed on whether computer assisted learning (CAL) can effectively improve learning outcomes. However, the empirical evidence of its impact is mixed. Previous studies suggest that the lack of an impact in developed countries may be attributable to substitution of effort/time away from productive, in-school activities. However, there is little empirical evidence on how effective an in-school programme may be in developing countries.
This paper reports on a survey conducted among more than 800 engineering students at elite universities in China and the United States. Results from the survey reveal that US and Chinese students are roughly equivalent in their desire to form or join startup ventures. Far more US students, however, plan on actually doing so. In contrast, Chinese students are more likely to join the state/government sector. Our results also reveal a wide gap in perceptions on the availability of financing, mentorship and other innovation resources.
This paper explores China’s digital divide, with a focus on differences in access to computers, learning software, and the Internet at school and at home among different groups of elementary school children in China.