One of my favourite quotes from former US President, John F Kennedy is: “the Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognise the opportunity.” And so it is that, during this major health crisis in China, one sector is enjoying a massive boom – online education.
According to Bloomberg, “Chinese online education companies are stunned at their good fortune. What was a fiercely-competitive, cash-burning market segment is now one of the few business winners from the health crisis. Eric Yang, founder of the Shanghai-based iTutorGroup, said the number of online classes taken on its platforms was three times more than the previous year during the first ten days of February. Growth was especially rapid in smaller mainland cities where more students already relied on offline tutoring classes. “The coronavirus is redefining the online education sector,” Yang said. “I expected online classes would surpass physical tutoring businesses in three years, but now I think the turning point will come much earlier.”
In the meantime, spare a thought for the stressed out parents, whose kids are trapped at home, studying in their bedrooms, attending online classes and wishing they could be anywhere else! As the article concludes “for kids already steeped in the digital age, the addition of one more screen to their daily lives might be more seamless than for their bedraggled parents”.