Shrinking the rural-urban educational divide in China
|In China, more than 75 percent of 10- to 15-year-olds live in rural areas or suburban migrant communities.|
Unfortunately, these youths face many obstacles to academic achievement that their urban peers do not encounter.
When rural and migrant students fall behind in a subject, they cannot get help from their teachers after school (this is not allowed in China).
They cannot afford to hire private tutors or attend the “cram schools” urban students often rely on.
And they cannot get help from their parents, as most rural parents are poorly educated and many live away from the family home.
|To bridge the rural-urban educational divide, in 2010 Dell and REAP partnered to bring computer-assisted learning (CAL) to students in rural schools across China. The REAP-Dell CAL program uses fun, game-based software – run on Dell computers – to teach math, Chinese and English to students in grades 3-6. These are the subjects rural students struggle with the most, and they are essential to the jobs that can eventually lift students out of poverty.|
In 2015, we worked with our partners at Ankang University to introduce an online version of REAP-Dell CAL at 59 schools serving 3,200 students in Ankang, Shaanxi. Online CAL eliminates the need to travel to remote areas to install and maintain software, so we can eventually reach more schools. The online CAL program enables students to interact and compete with friends, which makes learning even more engaging – and effective. In controlled studies conducted in 2016, Dell and REAP found students who completed online CAL had higher test scores than students who completed offline CAL.
In 2017, we plan to scale the online CAL program to all schools currently using our offline CAL program, reaching an estimated 9,000 students total. Approximately 20 percent of schools in rural China now have Internet access (up from 2 percent when we launched the program), so our goal is to reach 1 million students with online CAL by 2020.