What the world could learn from China’s EdTech crackdown?
China's education ministry aims to address edtech companies driving parents into FOMO; potential measures include ban on advertising, licensing of private institutes and instructors, and much more.
Penned my thoughts in KrASIA on China's recent decision to strictly regulate the after-school K12 EdTech players. You can read the full version here.
Here’s a blurb:
For Chinese K-12 edtech companies that’ve listed in the US, the last few weeks has seen a flurry of investment liquidation in the market. The cause of the turbulence is the Chinese government’s proposed reforms of the K-12 education market, ostensibly to address the pressure on students that mostly resulted from excessive after-school tutoring.
Propelled by a student population of over 240 million between the age of three and 18 years, China’s K-12 edtech market, pegged at USD 31 billion, is the world’s largest. The size of the market combined with Chinese parents’ high willingness to pay have driven investor interest in the sector, with funding in 2020 alone reached over several billion US dollars.
Chinese regulators have proposed a slew of regulatory measures such as disallowing long-term payment plans, keeping a check on misleading ads, especially those with a potential to affect mental well-being of students and parents. It also wants to limit the excessive growth of after-school tutoring centers and tighten the approval of coursework and faculty, to ensure only qualified professionals teach online. To ease the academic pressure on students, it wants to put restrictions on hours of after-school training and disallow students under 4–5 years from signing up for after-school courses.
What can policymakers learn here?
While the traditional schooling system is subject to reforms from time to time, online education has largely been a free zone with low entry barriers. Anyone can start and run an online education platform. Platforms have been found wanting in terms of teacher qualification mostly because they hire in a hasty manner that does away with a thorough background check process. Addressing these concerns could mean setting up an authority to set down the minimum qualification for teachers—bachelors in education as a close example—in addition to setting licensing regime akin to a board affiliation in traditional schooling system, and issue licenses to teachers who can conduct after-school tutoring.
Regulation of advertisement in the edtech space is another concern to ensure ads are not deceptive or misleading.
Access to after-school tutoring may be limited to wealthier families, furthering the socio-economic divide. There might be a need for intervention in how the courses are being priced, along with the content of the courses.
You can read the complete version on KrAsia.