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The private online education market in China is booming, and as a result, China’s Ministry of Education began to implement strategies to regulate the industry in late 2018. Citing concerns that students were being overworked and potentially receiving inferior teaching, the MOE created new regulations that included requiring all online English teachers to possess TEFL, CELTA or TESOL certification and university degrees. Later, in July 2019, further restrictions on online teaching were introduced, including shortening the length of online classes to a maximum of 40 minutes for students in grade 9 and below.

Since the 2019 regulations were introduced, the MOE, along with five other central authorities, started a process to verify that all online after school programs were in compliance. “As of Dec. 31, 2019, education authorities had finished the scrutiny on 3,463 courses and 115,622 teachers of these 718 online training course providers, the MOE said.”1

Now that online education businesses, including online ESL providers, have had ample time to review the regulations and make any necessary adjustments to be in compliance, the MOE has stated that from January 2020 and on, any online educational providers found to be unqualified or poorly operated will be placed on a blacklist. Once placed on the blacklist, a provider may either have their business suspended or shut down altogether.2 While this may impact some online ESL teachers and companies, most educational providers like ALO7 are already in compliance with the regulations since months have passed since their announcement. Overall, these new changes should benefit both the students and many online education providers as they will weed out businesses that are not meeting the standards.

1, 2 宗政 . “Media Highlights.” Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. Accessed January 16, 2020.

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