In 1998, the Ministry of Education approved an experiment in modern long-distance education at Qinghua University, Zhejiang University, Hunan University and Beijing Posts and Telecommunications University. In 1999 and early 2000, the experiment was expanded to three other schools--Beijing University, Central Radio and Television University and China Accounting Correspondence School run by the Ministry of Finance. In 1999, the former four universities, the first group approved for the experiment, enrolled more than 900 students, who were taught through the Internet, and the Central Radio and Television University enrolled 40,000 students. Through two years of experiment, the schools have formed a teaching model via the Internet, and developed a group of related courses and resources, which played an important role in promoting the experiment. Besides, the Ministry of Education has started the Program of Training Tomorrow's Female Teachers, to train female teachers in primary and middle schools and support education in poor and western areas. To develop modern long-distance education and frame a lifelong educational system the ministry has earmarked special funds for the Plan for Promoting 21st Century Education to promote the development of the Cernet trunk network. Now the 155M experimental line of Cernet connecting Beijing with Shanghai and Wuhan, and Wuhan with Guangzhou is in operation.
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