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Online education expected to sustain growth momentum

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CeciliaQ

Sept 03, 2020, 13:37

In her nine years of teaching before 2020, Liu Qianchen was always in the same classroom as her students. So it was unfamiliar for her to talk to a camera alone when COVID-19 struck.


She had to move all classes online almost overnight during the Chinese New Year holiday.

"At the beginning, the students didn't even have the proper equipment for online-session, like earphones," she said.

And then it proved much more difficult for her to keep track of students and teach long-distance.

"It's not easy, especially at first when the kids had to stay in front of a screen for so long," Liu, an English tutor with New Oriental told CGTN.

"You must have noticed, we've started to play a lot more games now while teaching online. We prepare activities to grab their attention."

She looks to have gotten the hang of it. In an one-hour class, she was constantly and generously doling out reward points in the teaching platform to her students, rotating and picking different students to speak.

She said she found her students, many of them ten-year-old, adapting to the move online much faster than adults.

Third grader Jia Yuxuan told CGTN that her online routine includes Math, Chinese and English lessons.

"My dancing lessons were taught online too," Jia added.

The third-grader said she missed the interaction and fun moments she got with fellow students, but otherwise liked having classes online.

Some 300 million students in China have spent the past semester largely in front of a screen.

But even as schools reopen this fall, many in the industry believe distance-learning will only take a greater piece of the pie.

Shi Peng, general manager of online business at the New Oriental Education and Technology Group said it's an industry-wide consensus and there is no going back.

"We're clear about this, there will be no more traditional teaching that only involves the classroom. For us, online and offline experiences will merge. In the future, even when we talk about offline studying in a certain place, it will be supported by online sessions," Shi told CGTN.

Analytical firm Nomura China estimates the pandemic has sped up the development of online education by two to three years. And they say growth should be sustained until at least 2024, as China's smaller cities and counties warm up to distance learning.

Tang Xueli, assistant dean with the TAL Education Research Institute said the group is preparing for future fast growth in the sector.

"We've definitely experienced increased demand. We're doubling the number of this year's new recruits because of this trend," she said.

For Liu and Little Jia, they are returning to the classroom this fall, but also meeting up regularly in front of the screen. Liu said the arrangement would allow the students to have the best of both worlds.

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pnp
Newtown post time: 2020-11-05 07:27

Did you say different time zones in China?  That's news to me; I always thought China has only one time zone!

Btw, the service providers have gone out of their way to instal transmission posts in remote areas to help students gain access to internet for online education. 

Newtown
GhostBuster post time: 2020-10-24 22:50

If students are in a place where there can't be a proper school then it's highly likely that they can't get the internet connection and all of the other equipment required for them to participate in on-line learning. There would also be logistical problems trying to cater to such students spread across different time zones in China and perhaps also some difficulties with differences in language use and local dialects between the teachers and their students.

GhostBuster

Online education should be encouraged as it will help to reach students in places, where the conditions do not allow a proper school to be built and teaching staff to be attached.

Students who are on the move could access their learning materials round the clock with tutorials and assistance.

At the same time, it should be tailored to assist other than students including those on the job.

Perhaps, China should open an online service for assistance to those who want to improve their working skills.