MOE Issues Plan to Promote Online Education
COVID-19 and China
Books and a laptop. Image Credit: Émile Perron/Unsplash

The Ministry of Education and other 11 departments jointly issued the ‘Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Healthy Development of Online Education’ (关于促进在线教育健康发展的指导意见). The plan points out that social forces are encouraged to organize online educational institutions to support Internet companies and online educational institutions to fully tap emerging educational needs. 

Online education is a type of education, which uses modern information technology such as the Internet and artificial intelligence to interact with learning and teaching and is an important part of educational services. Developing online education is conducive to building a networked, digital, personalized and lifelong education system and a learning society where students can learn anywhere at any time.

The issued plan clearly stated that by 2022, modern information technology and education will be deeply integrated, the quality of online education will continue to improve, the resources and service standards system will be completely established. Further, the environment for development will be greatly improved, governance systems will become more robust, and an educational system of networking, digitization, individuality and lifelong development will be established.

Key points of the plan

• Encourage social forces to organize online educational institutions, develop online educational resources, and provide quality education services.
• Promote online and offline education. Encourage schools to increase the R&D and sharing of online educational resources through the national digital education resource public service system and expand high-quality teaching resources. 
• Cultivate quality online education resources. Implement the ‘Educational Resource Sharing Plan,’ bring Internet teaching, scientific research, and cultural resources together to expand and improve the national digital education resource public service system. Produce a number of high-quality online education courses and explore learning achievement certification. 
• Promote the integrated development of industry, academia and research. Encourage vocational colleges, universities, research institutes, and enterprises to cooperate closely, implement ‘in-depth industry-university cooperation,’ and encourage online education enterprises to establish R&D institutions and experimental centers in vocational colleges and universities to promote scientific research and teaching.
• Improve the training of online education talents. Encourage enterprises to establish online education innovation talent training bases and supply and demand docking platforms with vocational colleges and universities.

The Internet Education Research Institute recently released the ‘China Children’s Online English Education Industry Research Report 2019’ (in Chinese). According to the report, the online education market for children in 2018 exceeded CNY 21 billion (USD 2.9 billion), while the number of users reached 6.25 million. It is expected that this number will exceed 10 million this year. It is believed that traditional offline learning modes will be almost completely replaced by online mode. Children’s online English market polarization is obvious, with four enterprises - VIPKID, 51Talk, DaDa(哒哒英语)and vipJr - occupying more than 90% of the market share.

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