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在线翻译:
szdaily -> In depth
Anxious parents help China’s tutoring companies thrive
    2017-December-19  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

FROM 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., 12-year-old Zhao Di spent all of Saturday in a private tutoring center studying Chinese, math and English. It was the busiest, most exhausting day of his week.

Zhao studies at a private middle school in Zhengzhou, capital of Central China’s Henan Province. In his class, almost everyone takes tutoring classes outside school on weekends.

For Chinese parents, private tutoring is not just a supplement to school classes, but a necessity.

In 2016, more than 130 million private tutoring courses were taken by primary and middle school students in China, said a report by the Chinese Society of Education.

More than 87 percent of Chinese parents consider private tutoring programs important for their children, according to the report.

In China, parents believe that if their children get in to good schools, they will have a brighter future. Many believe that parents’ preference for prestigious schools has contributed to a boom in tutoring organizations.

Junior middle school entrance examinations are forbidden by the Chinese education authorities, but the policy has not been fully implemented, especially by some prestigious private schools.

Tests for top middle schools sometimes go far beyond the primary school curriculum, so students have no choice but to take extra classes outside school.

“In the second semester of the sixth grade, some students only attend two or three classes at public school. The rest of the time is spent at tutoring centers, which promise parents their children will be sent to prestigious schools,” said Shi Meng, a senior executive of the Jinsha Primary School in Zhengzhou.

Chinese parents are spending more of their savings on tutoring schools, too.

More than 30 percent of parents are willing to spend — no matter how much it costs — for private tutoring programs, and 26.6 percent of them are willing to spend half of their disposable income on these programs, according to the report.

For Li Jian, whose son is in fourth grade, the private tutoring fee is a great source of pressure. Every year, he spends an average of 30,000 yuan (US$4,500) on his son’s tutoring, which is a lot considering the fact that he works as a driver and has to pay rent for his apartment. But he does not regret it.

“No matter how hard it is, he has to take tutoring courses so that he will have a better future,” said Li.

According to a report on China’s education sector by UBS Securities in August, China’s kindergarten to grade 12 after-school tutoring market has been booming and will rise from revenues of 497 billion yuan (US$75 billion) in 2016 to over 1,082 billion yuan in 2021.

“The K-12 after-school tutoring sector will become one of few sectors with potential to double its size in five years and likely above market expectations,” said Edwin Chen, executive director and co-head of Asia Small/Mid Caps Research of UBS Securities Co.

There were 182 million K-12 students in 2016, and the government expects that there will be 191 million by 2020. The country also expects to raise the urbanization rate from 56 percent in 2015 to 60 percent by 2020, according to the report.

Penetration of K-12 after-school tutoring was only 37 percent in 2014 in China, but may have reached 70 percent in tier-1 cities, according to the Chinese Society of Education. Chen said the national average tutoring rate will grow to 50 percent in five years and the top tier cities penetration will rise to 80-90 percent in the period.

The subjects of tutoring will also be diversified and widened to expand the market scale, said the analyst.

There are three key drivers influencing the sector’s growth, the report says.

First, there are an increasing number of students concentrated in bigger cities due to ongoing urbanization, a rising birth rate, and the more adequate public school resources found there.

Second, parents have high expectations for their children’s education, and are fiercely competitive when it comes to their child gaining admission into top universities.

Third, rising disposable incomes and the perceived importance of a good education means parents are willing to pay high fees.

According to the iResearch survey, teaching quality and outcomes, tutors’ educational qualifications and institutions’ brands are the top three factors when middle-income parents choose after-school tutoring.

The UBS report expects the current fragmented after-school tutoring market to consolidate, resulting in mergers of big national companies.

The huge demand has helped tutoring companies thrive in China. The market size for tutoring organizations targeting primary and middle school students exceeds 800 billion yuan, according to the report.

Take Tomorrow Advancing Life Education Group for example. Zhang Bangxin, the group’s founder, founded the Xue’ersi International Education Group with 100,000 yuan in funds in 2003. In October 2010, just seven years later, it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Now the group has become one of the largest tutorial organizations in China with over 20,000 employees.

Still, more newcomers to the market are emerging.

Duan Chengcheng, who has years of experience in English language tutoring, just opened her own tutoring school Dec. 2 in Shenzhen, one of the most prosperous cities in China.

Duan’s English Language Tutorial School focuses on children ranging from 5 to 12 years old.

Although she did not do any publicity, five children have enrolled, and up to eight students are expected to come in spring next year.

“I want to keep my school small and teaching quality high,” said Duan. (Xinhua)

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