China takes measures to improve digital literacy and skills for general public

Volunteers help senior citizens learn to use smartphone in a residential community in Huai'an city, east China's Jiangsu province. (Photo by Zhao Qirui/People's Daily Online)
Volunteers help senior citizens learn to use smartphone in a residential community in Huai'an city, east China's Jiangsu province. (Photo by Zhao Qirui/People's Daily Online)

By Jin Xin
“Machine learning is a kind of statistical learning in which the computer builds a model based on statistics and then uses the model to predict likely future outcomes.” “Statistics, algorithms and computing power are three major factors of machine learning.”

Recently, Ma Di, a university student in Beijing, has been taking the open course entitled “Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Practice” every day through a platform called, which helps the general public improve digital literacy and skills.

The platform is created to encourage key universities, research institutes and social organizations to share digital resources such as online courses, teaching tools and application cases, with the general public.

“Providing courses on digital applications in various aspects in a systematic manner makes the platform a useful tool for improving people’s digital literacy,” said Ma.

Improving digital literacy and skills for the general public is a key measure to meet the requirements of the digital era. In recent years, Chinese governments at various levels have rolled out effective measures to improve digital literacy and skills of the general public and solidify the social basis for the development of the digital economy.

“When farmers start to promote agricultural products through livestreaming, they have new tasks besides their farm work, including analyzing the needs of their viewers and finding a selling point for their products.”

Liang Xiaoyong (a pseudonym), a farmer in Huitong county, central China’s Hunan province, was watching an online lecture about how to create wealth from high-quality agricultural products via an agriculture education app on his smart phone.

The Cyberspace Administration of the CPC Hunan Provincial Committee and other relevant departments have taken active measures to promote full coverage of the app in rural areas in Hunan, trying to boost supply of digital resources for rural areas and improve farmers’ ability to use digital tools.

Last August, Hunan provided 4,186 courses and learning resources on digital literacy and skills for the general public free of charge, helping more people embrace a digital way of life at an accelerated pace.

The “Smart Education of China,” a public online service platform launched by the Ministry of Education, is the world’s largest pool of education resources. The national e-commerce public service website built by the Ministry of Commerce offers resources in various sectors, including e-commerce news, development index, information about exhibitions and training courses. The learning community for industrial workers built by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions serves as a platform which promotes online and offline learning and also includes a skill evaluation and assessment system.

These platforms have enriched the supply of education and training resources, pushed for the sharing of digital resources, ensured equal access to digital resources and made digital resources benefit for all.

In February this year, the Cyberspace Administration of China and other 12 departments jointly ranked 78 units as the country’s first batch of digital literacy and digital skills training bases, including science and technology museums, schools, research institutes and vocational skills training bases.

These training bases with distinctive features form a digital literacy and skills training network that covers the entire country and serves the general public.

The Hangzhou Low Carbon Science and Technology Museum is the first large-scale science and technology museum in the world with low carbon as its theme. Stick to the topic of low-carbon lifestyle and smart life style, it displays more than 100 science exhibits that are interesting and interactive. The Beijing-based Internet security company Qihoo 360 has built a cloud platform for cybersecurity education that is able to provide one-stop cybersecurity education services. Shanghai’s East China Normal University has independently developed a teaching platform which promotes computer science among the general public and provides teaching services such as online training.

Besides training bases for the general public, systems for training high-level professional personnel in digital technologies are also being built across the country.

With the help of the office of the cyberspace affairs commission of the CPC Heilongjiang Provincial Committee, Harbin Institute of Technology in Harbin city, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, has built a collaborative education base with relevant companies.

The base provides a sound education and experimental environment for more than 2,000 students. It provides them with resources including computing hardware platform with Ascend and Kunpeng processors, openEuler system, database openGauss, and all-scenario AI computing framework MindSpore.

With continuous improvement of Chinese people’s attention and participation in digital transformation, relevant practices have gradually penetrated into the everyday life of the public.

The health authorities of Nanxun district, Huzhou city, east China’s Zhejiang province, have used a 5G-based intelligent community health information management platform to monitor the health condition of patients on a regular basis.

The platform can help track and monitor patients’ health indicators, including blood pressure, blood sugar and heart rate, send warning messages to patients when it detects abnormal data. A message was sent to Cui Jie (a pseudonym), a senior female citizen of Nanxun district, as soon as the intelligent platform detected her blood pressure abnormality.
As digital resources become increasingly rich and the application scenarios of digital technologies continuously expand, the digital literacy of Chinese people will continue to improve, more people will benefit from the digital civilization.

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