The recent boom in the online education industry has everyone putting on their headphones, turning on their webcams, and earning a nice part-time income. To date, China’s online education industry has raked in a colossal $37 billion dollars per annum. Its convenient, its comfortable, its companies are hiring constantly, and for a while, it was an accessible employment option for nearly anyone. Not for long. China’s Ministry of Education (or MOE) has made recent motions to improve the quality of education China’s students are receiving via these online education platforms, and it may lead to many of these companies scrambling to find teachers that fit the bill.
A few years ago, China implemented a strict policy requiring physical schools in China to hire only qualified foreign teachers who meet a certain list of requirements (a passport from a native English speaking country, a BA/BS degree, a teaching certificate, a clean criminal background, and a couple of years of teaching experience). This policy’s successor, pertaining to teachers of the online sort, requires similar qualifications.
Personal Info Must Be Displayed
According to the MOE’s new regulations, announced on June 12th, 2019, all online teaching companies must post the personal information of their online instructors on their website. The information must be clearly stated and easily accessible; it also must contain the following information: the teachers’ names, photographs, teaching qualifications, professional experience, and academic history. “Easily accessible” means able to be accessed readily, solely by the students of the teacher. Per Caixin Global, the MOE created this policy in order to mitigate “public concern about online tutors’ purported qualifications and the safety of their pupils.”
The MOE has also started to make adjustments to China’s discourse surrounding supplementary education. In understanding the widely recognized and wholly unhealthy stress China’s youth are under regarding academics, the workload put on China’s students will be seemingly reduced. Classes have been constrained to a maximum 40 minutes for students up to the 9th grade, and classes must be dismissed by 9pm BJT in order to allow these youngsters to get a good night’s rest before heading off to their classrooms in the morning.
Online teaching companies which fail to follow these new regulations will face serious consequences. If China’s MOE catches wind of a school hiring teachers lacking the laid out qualifications or withholding the required information from students, they will be given a specific amount of time to amend any insufficiencies. If a company continues to operate below the new policy’s standards beyond this grace period, they will face fast and severe legal consequences, such as being shut down entirely and blacklisted.
Higher Hourly Rates Ahoy!
In my personal opinion, these new policies are a godsend. The online education industry has been an unregulated mess for far too long. For the last few years, while online education in China became an enormous industry, hourly rates for online teachers have been derisory. Well-qualified, certified, seasoned teachers were and are being paid anywhere from $10 to $18 USD per hour for their instruction, and schools were able to hire underqualified teachers at those same pay rates. Similar to what we discussed in a previous article about China’s evolving job market for foreign professionals, this new increase in required qualifications will cause a greater demand for qualified individuals to fill these vacancies. Increased demand for adequately qualified teachers will undoubtedly lead to more competitive pay rates. Don’t be surprised if you start to see the hourly rates for these online teaching positions climb to new heights!
Do you teach online? Have you been affected by these new policies? Leave a comment and let us know how you feel about this new shift in the online teaching industry!
（By: Ted Salonek）