Apr 23, 2020 04:09 AM

Pandemic Exposes China’s Digital Divide in Home Schooling

What’s New: Nearly half of rural students in China have difficulty accessing online courses as the Covid-19 pandemic forced students to study at home, a survey found.

The study, backed by a rural education charity foundation, surveyed 36,000 students in urban and rural areas in central and western China. It found that around half of the rural students could access online courses because of a lack of devices and internet access, compared with more than 70% in urban areas. The average study time for rural students was also far less than for their urban counterparts.

Only 43.8% of rural students have internet access at home, compared with more than 80% in urban areas. And just 7.3% of rural students own a computer, the study found.

Why it matters: The findings spotlight how uneven access to remote learning technologies could affect students during the pandemic.

China has spent nearly 10 years improving technology capacity for education in schools, but the outbreak exposed inadequate access for households, especially those in rural areas, an expert said.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full Caixin article in Chinese, click here.

Related: Frustrated Beijing Parents Demand Refunds From Pricey Private Schools

Contact reporter Han Wei ( and editor Bob Simison (

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