Distance education in a variety of forms has a long history and the number of students enrolled has become enormous. But, compared with studies of traditional face-to-face education, the studies on economics of distance education are rather fewer and have not attracted much attention from the scholars of the economics of education. This chapter introduces and analyses the existing empirical studies on the economics of distance education from the perspectives of cost, efficiency, the private and social benefits, social capital and dropout. The empirical results support that distance education has its own distinctive features, such as cost advantages and economies of scale and scope, the separation of teachers and learners, the separation among learners, social capital disadvantages and high dropout rate. Meanwhile, the empirical results show that like traditional face-to-face education, distance education can not only bring significant private benefits but also a series of social benefits and social capital can improve distance education learners’ performance and benefits. Finally, with the development of the Internet and information technology, especially the explosive growth of MOOCs, this chapter predicts that distance education will become a common approach to study for ordinary people in the near future. Then this chapter offers some prospects and suggestions referring to studies of the economics of distance education in the future.
Xianan Hu and Fengliang Li
The chapter introduces the structure, governance and finance of the Chinese education system. The chapter explains the ways in which elementary, secondary and higher education in China relates to the politics, economy and culture of society, and the various issues that each phase needs to address if it is to achieve educational fairness and equality.
W. John Morgan and Fengliang Li
Fengliang Li, Nianchun Wang and Xianan Hu
The chapter shows how lifelong learning in China, encompassing broader avenues and opportunities for learning, has accelerated the development of distance education and promoted the status of adult vocational education and training in Chinese society. It concludes that the exponential advance in modern communication technology plays a defining role in the rapid expansion of distance education, and has challenged and modified traditional concepts and modes of education in China.