The Ever Shifting Education Landscape: What’s Next in China?

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The Transformation of the Off-campus, Private Education Industry in the light of the Release of the “Double Reduction” Policy

In late July 2021, the Chinese government released new regulations affecting private education operators putting an end to the golden age of online learning companies. These new regulations will dramatically change the face of K-12 education and have a ripple effect on the entire market for years to come. Market leaders are scrambling to adapt to the new situation which has left some private companies with a 70% loss in annual revenue.

To begin with, what are the new regulations put in place by the Chinese government?

  • No new foreign investment is allowed and companies are not allowed to go public. The government is driving private investment away from K-12 education.
  • All existing private companies must become nonprofits if they want to operate in the public sector.
  • No remote training on weekends and holidays.
  • No international content is allowed in core K-12 programmes.
  • All online and offline teachers must be properly licensed.

These are only some of the new rules put in place by the Chinese government and in the last three weeks since they’ve been implemented there have been even more changes. Despite these drastic measures, with change comes opportunity.We’ve summarised the market response and come up with an EDT perspective and analysis of not only the challenges, but also the opportunities that we see on the horizon.

  1. Private after-school market in China: Year Zero?
  2. “Double reduction”: extent of the new policy
  3. Layoffs, closures and change in strategy: How the industry is reacting
  4. How may the situation evolve?
  5. The view of EDT&Partners
  6. Further reading

 

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Mending bridges

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Taken in Lebak (Indonesia), this image depicts children in peril while crossing a partially collapsed bridge over an overflowing river while trying to get to school. When asked, children said they’d rather take this risk than walk another 30 minutes to use the next bridge. The image has often been brought up as a shocking example of how arduous “the road to education” can be.

This picture went viral in early 2012 and the bridge was mended soon after. Yet many other bridges are still waiting to be fixed. One should not think only about physical or technological infrastructure. Poor quality of instruction; shortage of suitable content, and the lack of qualified teachers are just a few of the core issues to solve when it comes to education in emerging markets worldwide. This is especially evident in early childhood learning. The imbalance in science and maths instruction in rural schools due to lack of qualified teachers in India, Indonesia, Malaysia or the Philippines remains largely unresolved.

The road to equity in education is long and winding. Fortunately, many stakeholders in the education industry are determined to bring balance and sow the seeds of social and personal growth for current and future generations.

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