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China’s online education sector booms as epidemic keeps students out of schools

(People's Daily Online)    08:53, March 12, 2020

Online education in China has seen robust growth as schools and universities begin to explore online education options as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

A teacher with a vocational school in Anshan, Liaoning province, teaches online. (Photo/Xinhua)

According to recent research on the epidemic’s impact on the internet sector issued by the Internet Society of China, prospects for online education are promising.

Data from the country’s leading search engine Baidu shows a sharp increase in searches for the keyword “online education”, reaching about 5,000 on Feb. 10 compared to 300 on Jan. 17.

According to QuestMobile, a mobile Internet big data company in Beijing, the number of daily active users on education apps rose from 87 million to 127 million during the epidemic, an increase of 46 percent. In addition, daily active users of K12 education grew by 23 million.

The value of the country’s online education market was expected to surpass 310 billion yuan in 2019, according to a report on China’s online education industry in the third quarter of 2019 issued at the end of 2019.

“There is great demand for education, and online education platforms provide strong support for people who want it,” said Zhou Feng, CEO of Netease Youdao, an online education giant in China.

Both the penetration rate and user numbers of online education will increase as more people embrace online education during the epidemic, said Yu Changjiang, executive dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School.

Furthermore, data from QuestMobile shows that new users of online education apps outside first- and second-tier cities accounted for about 70 percent of the total in China since the Spring Festival.

The country’s online education market will continue to grow, as China has 180 million primary and secondary students, said Liu Xingliang, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

In order to promote the high-quality development of China’s online education, online educational institutions should give top priority to quality, recruit qualified teachers and give users a better experience. At the same time, the country should provide better internet services for online education, especially in rural areas. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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