In Hangzhou, a city in Zhejiang Province, residents have access to comprehensive "one-stop" learning services, establishing a "15-minute learning circle" within urban districts.

The Open University of China (OUC), emblematic of the new "Internet +" model of education, has curated and released a wide array of online courses, advancing the dissemination of top-tier educational resources. These concrete examples underscore the strides made in recent years towards enhancing the development of a learning-centric society via the digital transformation of education.

At the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), it was proposed that "We will promote the digitalisation of education and build a society and country of learning where lifelong learning is pursued by all." The 2024 Government Work Report further emphasises this commitment, stating, "We will vigorously develop digital education." In today's world, where science and technology are advancing rapidly, modern information technologies like the Internet, cloud computing, and big data are profoundly transforming how people learn and live. Promoting the digitalisation of education is a crucial step in implementing strategies aimed at revitalising the country through science and education, strengthening the country with a skilled workforce, and driving development through innovation. Currently, China is intensifying its efforts to implement strategic actions for the digitalisation of education. The swift evolution of information technologies is fueling the high-quality development of education. The vision that "Everyone can study whenever and wherever they want to" is gradually becoming a reality.

The digitalisation of education enables high-quality teaching resources to break through geographical barriers, connecting urban and rural areas alike. All primary and secondary schools in China now have internet access, and 99.5% of schools boast multimedia classrooms. The national smart education platform, Smart Education of China, has seen widespread adoption. By the end of last year, the platform had amassed over 100 million registered users. The "MOOC to the West" project enhances the sharing of high-quality courses between universities in the eastern and western regions, aiming to elevate the standard of education and teaching in China's western regions. The fusion of advanced technologies with traditional education continues to enrich educational scenarios, making digitalisation a new driving force behind the high-quality development of education.

The digitalisation of education is crucial for supporting talent development that fuels the digital transformation of industries. Many vocational colleges have established virtual simulation training bases that employ technologies like virtual simulation, augmented reality, and holographic imaging. These innovations offer effective solutions to the inherent challenges of practical training projects, which often involve high risks, lengthy cycles, and difficulties in observation. The vocational education section of the Smart Education of China platform has introduced over 10,000 high-quality online courses, with a significant expansion of 28,000 new entries in 2023. These additions include virtual simulations, online high-quality courses, and a professional teaching resource library. This development fully reflects the distinctive approach of vocational education, which emphasises the "integration of industry and education, and cooperation between schools and enterprises." As a result, it fosters a deep integration of the education chain, innovation chain, industrial chain, and talent chain.

The digitalisation of education is creating a networked, digitised, personalised, and lifelong learning system, making lifelong learning opportunities available to everyone. In January, the General Office of the State Council issued the "Opinions on Developing the Silver Economy to Enhance the Well-being of the Elderly." This document specifically calls for the creation of the National Education Platform for the Elderly, leveraging the Seniors University of China (SUC) as its foundation. It also mandates the development of a comprehensive database of educational resources for the elderly and a pool of faculty members. Since its launch in March 2023, the SUC has rapidly advanced the development of its educational service system. It has established 55,000 grassroots learning points, serving 22.14 million elderly students throughout the system.

Network cables bridge the digital divide, while screens link classrooms across different locations. Digital education provides a new pathway for every learner to realise their full potential and achieve holistic development, characterized by fairness, inclusiveness, openness, and sharing.


Reprinted by the OUC News Network from Page 5 of the People’s Daily dated 7 April 2024