Dealing with Inequalities in Education

Case Study: Applying innovative education practices to combat inequality in education


Education inequality is still a pressing problem in Chinese society. The research team at Lingnan University’s Department of Economics designed and executed a series of projects in collaboration with local education bureaus in China to solve this problem. Over 17 cities/counties, 300 schools, and 50,000 students participated in the projects. Several of the team’s innovative education practices have been shown to improve student test scores in underperforming schools, and its research has generated insights into how government education policies can be improved to help disadvantaged children.


Cross-age tutoring for rural schools
Starting in 2012, the team organised a series of studies in Hunan Province, China. The study consisted of an after-school, cross-age tutoring programme for 760 students in 79 rural schools. The outcomes of these studies attracted the attention of the local government with regard to their future plans for education, and they were also cited in research reports by international organisations such as the Asian Development Bank.


e-learning and pay-for-grade scheme trialed
Researchers from the University also signed agreements with education bureaus in Nanchang, Zhaoqing, Zhongshan, and Xinshao to help them evaluate the effects of various forms of e-learning. The research is still on-going, but it has already generated many useful insights. For example, in Nanchang, all participating students in the experimental group were given a laptop by the local education bureau for e-learning. The research team helped the schools identify useful e-learning materials, and researchers designed a reward scheme for students targeting improvement in their test scores. The combination of e-learning and a pay-for-grade scheme has never been trialed before.


Collaboration with Intel for STEAM Education
The Pan-Sutong Shanghai Hong Kong Economic Research Institute at Lingnan University signed collaborative agreements with the National STEAM Education and Research Centre of the China National Institute of Education Science, and with Intel Global Education, to form a Lingnan-Intel Intelligent and Innovation Centre. Such collaborations have enabled it to become the local champion when it comes to promoting STEAM education and research. The Centre has organised three annual STEAM Young Maker Competitions in Hong Kong, and these competitions have attracted over 2,000 students from China, the US, and Malaysia.