RS 2: China

Documenting China’s Digital Divide

Unlike cases in the United States, the main digital divide in China is between urban and rural communities. The Rural Education Action Program estimates that around 80% of urban students can access the internet from their household while only 5% of rural households can access the internet. This number is so large that many rural students and their families decide to migrate to the larger cities because there is no hope for improvement in their small communities. Chinese policy makers have done a good job of providing physical resources to rural schools but fail to provide the proper education as teachers in the rural schools do not know how to operate the software as well as urbans teacher do. Around 80% of rural schools have access to computers, but only 40% have educational software for their students to use. While there are computers for these students to use, they have no way to learn how and therefore are forced to migrate, most of the time without their families, to create better opportunities for themselves. The REAP states that migration itself doesn’t bridge the digital divide in China. The gap narrows only when migrant families enroll their children in urban schools. It is depressing to see that the Chinese policy makers have not been able to bridge the gap through just supplying computers. They have been lazy in implementing these computers and proper teaching, and therefore have not been able to improve the lives of rural families. If the Chinese want to solve their overpopulation problems in their large cities, one way to do this is to improve the opportunities of rural families. By providing proper computer education to rural Chinese schools they would eliminate a large number of migrant families and bridge the digital divide.

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