February 10, 2004
Chinese higher education on the internet

I'm guessing, but I should imagine that this will have a huge effect, because the hunger of Chinese people to get educated far outstrips the traditional means available for them to contrive that. (Commenters, you are welcome to tell me I'm wrong.)

BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- China has selected 151 academic courses as high-quality ones and put them online through the official website of the Ministry of Education (MOE), with a view to giving excellent education resources free to the public, a high-ranking official said here Tuesday.

Wu Qidi, vice-minister of education, said at a press conference that the 151 courses, selected out of nearly 500 courses, was the first step of a national project on improving higher education quality.

The MOE plans to promote 1,500 academic courses in five years and realize the sharing of education resources with the help of modern technologies.

She said the selected academic courses, all given by Chinese professors, were recommended by schools and local education administrations, and gradually approved online by specific jury committees organized by MOE.

According to Wu, China's national academic courses not only emphasize the subject itself, but also include construction of teaching material and teaching staff.

An MOE investigation showed that since 2001, the degree of Chinese students' satisfaction with teaching material and their teachers has increased by 22 percentage points.

Wow. Twenty two percentage points more satisfaction. Imagine that.

Seriously, do you get the feeling of hundreds of cats, solemnly and with due deliberation, being let out of hundreds of bags? I do. The Internet is, I believe, one of those revolutionary technologies which changes everything it touches, no matter how carefully it is supervised. This news report reminds me of things I've read about committees of Elizabethan bishops equivocating for months, and then finally allowing some book to be published.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 05:40 PM
Category: Higher educationThe internet