Remote Learning and Educational Inequality
34 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2022
Date Written: July 11, 2022
Educational equity is a strong foundation of a fair and thriving society. However, studies have repeatedly identified educational inequality between developed and developing regions. Remote learning has changed how knowledge is delivered and how students access educational resources. In this paper, we study whether and when remote learning can reduce the observed educational inequality. We collect students' performance on China's national college entrance examination from 2018 to 2020. Leveraging the transition to remote learning due to the pandemic as an exogenous shock, we use the difference-in-differences approach to estimate the impact of remote learning on the performance gap across regions. We find that remote learning has significantly improved learning outcomes of students in developing regions relative to students in developed regions. We also find that the digital divide in people's access to and proficiency with using digital technologies limits that effect. Our work reveals the implications of adopting remote learning and highlights the importance of digital technology capabilities.
Keywords: remote learning, educational inequality, digital divide, natural experiment
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