The life of "Internet Colleges": policies, problems, and prospects of online higher education in China

For the past two decades, China’s economy has known an astonishing growth, so as the consequent demand for more and better postsecondary education. In response, the Chinese government has adopted a number of measures, including the creation of “Internet Colleges”, which are units within existing universities, offering postsecondary educational programs online. In the highly centralized education system of China, besides CCRTVU, the Internet Colleges are the only institutions approved by the government to offer online postsecondary education. The Internet Colleges initiative, which went through many changes since its inception, reflects the government’s struggle to balance innovation and tradition, regulation and flexibility. Then, an analysis of the short evolution of these colleges may help understand larger aspects of online higher education in China.

Article originally appeared in: “EDUCAUSE Review”, V. 41(2006), n. 6, pp. 48-59. Reprinted with permission.

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