The participation of big investors in online education has made it a new hotspot for investment in the education industry. Students of remote and under-developed areas are the biggest beneficiaries of online education, but online universities offer students who failed university entrance examinations and working people the chance of lifelong education and learning.
The Ministry of Education has approved 68 ordinary schools of higher learning and the Central Radio and TV University to pilot modern distance education. By the end of 2003, these schools had established 2,027 off-campus learning centers around China, offering 140 majors in ten disciplines, and had a total enrollment of 1.373 million.
The gradual spread of broadband technology has also helped online education. The China Education and Research Network (CERNET), started in 1994, is now China's second largest Internet network, covering all major cities of China. The high-speed connection between it and the China Education Broadband Satellite Net, opened in 2000, established a "space to earth" transmission platform for modern distance education, and provided an all-round network supporting environment for distance education.
Adult education is both dynamic and diverse. Schools of higher learning for adults include radio and TV, worker, farmer, correspondence and evening universities, management and education colleges; adult secondary schools include vocational, high and skills training schools; worker elementary and farmer elementary schools comprise the adult elementary sector.