CHINA remains to be the biggest and fastest-growing market for English language studies. The enforcement of social distancing, lockdowns and other measures in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic has led families to ramp up online English learning, and this figure is expected to grow as its booming economy fuels the new generation to provide their children with the best English education available.
To the Chinese, a good education coupled with a strong grasp of the English language is a perfect recipe for a successful life as it opens up doors to higher education and better career opportunities.
The Chinese government has also placed a strong emphasis on the promotion of the English language as it acknowledged the role it plays in giving its citizens a competitive advantage in an increasingly internationalized trade and business landscape.
As one of the pioneers of online English learning in China, NYSE-listed teaching platform 51Talk has cornered a big chunk of this lucrative market as it gains headway via its expansion in secondary and tertiary cities and provinces across China. A report co-released by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and South Weekend in March this year showed that 51Talk ranks first in the K-12 English industry with a market share of 46 percent among online English-tutoring platforms targeting children in 2020.
51Talk is an online education platform that connects foreign English teachers to thousands of Chinese learners via a fun, engaging, and interactive digital learning environment. Their mission is to make quality English education available to millions of learners and they believe that global communication is the foundation of the future.
Through its proprietary technology called AirClass, 51Talk provides both one-on-one and group lessons that have proven to be a very effective method in teaching and learning the English language. AirClass uses technology and big data to personalize and augment each student’s learning experience in ways traditional classes are unable to.
Gesture of Goodwill in China
As a side effect of the coronavirus pandemic with most students staying at home, the popularity and acceptance of alternative online Education solutions have skyrocketed as a convenient, effective, and safe way to conduct lessons. As a result, there has been a marked surge of online lessons observed throughout this period.
To contribute to the community amid the lockdowns and quarantine measures in China, 51Talk generously provided US $2.8 worth of free English lessons to children residing in Hubei Province where Wuhan City, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, is located. This gesture of goodwill allowed young learners to continue their English education at home and has helped to create a positive distraction from the otherwise gloomy scenario.
51Talk also worked with schools and universities in China, sharing their technological know-how in delivering online classes, and has expressed willingness to collaborate with other educational institutions who are trying to adapt to this new reality.
Platform Growth and Stability
Faced with a strong demand, 51Talk has been aggressively increasing its teacher pool mainly located in the Philippines, which is one of the most populous English speaking countries in the world. Filipino teachers have proven to be very well-liked by Chinese families because of their passion and patience for teaching on top of their excellent English language proficiency and familiarity with the Chinese culture.
Online English teaching is a popular and in-demand career opportunity in the Philippines as it offers competitive pay and allows for the convenience of working at home. This also means that online Filipino teachers need not leave their hometowns and provinces in search of greener opportunities usually found in the bigger cities.
And because stay-at-home orders were also imposed in the Philippines, home-based, online types of livelihood like 51Talk’s model remained resilient throughout the pandemic with its 20,000 teachers continuing to earn while staying safe at home.
Donation to the Philippines
As a way to aid the Philippines in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic and as an expression of gratitude to the thousands of Filipino teachers who stepped-up while Chinese students were staying at home, 51Talk donated essential medical items and personnel protective equipment (PPE) to the Philippines worth US$ 100,000.
“I would like to express my profound gratitude to 51Talk and to the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. for readily coming to the rescue when help was mostly needed. This COVID crisis has brought out the best in most people and has shown that moving as one leads to attainment of our goals. Your help definitely challenged our staff to give their best with much less anxiety and uncertainty. Thanks a million and may your goodness return to you a zillion-fold,” said Dr. Lorna Abad, Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics of the Philippine General Hospital, one of three hospitals which received the donations.