Digital technologies for education in China: National ambitions meet local realities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


China has been a pioneer in including information and communication technologies for educational purposes (ICT4E) in national educational policies. Having recognized the role technology can play in education in the late 1990s, the country has by now emerged as an international leader in propagating the benefits of ICT4E. At the levels of the school and individual learner, however, ICT4E still play a subordinated role. This mismatch between political ambitions and educational realities can largely be attributed to contradictions within the Chinese education system, which attempts to reconcile diverging political, social, and pedagogical objectives.

The paper will begin by introducing the reader to these contradictions, to then briefly outline what ICT4E entail in general, and how they are relevant in China. The subsequent sections will describe the goals, initiatives, and policies related to ICT4E in China particularly since 2012/2013 – the time when Xi Jinping took over as head of party and state; identify actors and their interests; shed light on implementation, experiments, and outcomes; and conclude by discussing the global implications of Chinese ICT4E initiatives.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences
  • Educational Sciences


  • China, social service provision, education, ICT4E, information and communication technologies
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationServe the people. Innovation and IT in China’s development agenda
EditorsMatthias Stepan, Jane Duckett
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherMercator Institute for China Studies
Volume6 (October 2018)
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct 18
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameMERICS Papers on China
PublisherMercator Institute for China Studies

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