China / Education

Educators switch on to new revenue stream

By Su Zhou (China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-02 07:33

A physics teacher surnamed Zhang has been giving live online courses, and in one day can bring in as much as some teachers earn in a year. Each of his seven classes lasts one hour, and more than 9,400 students paid nine yuan ($1.40) each for classes. This means Zhang can earn 67,000 yuan after platform commissions. Teachers earning such eye-popping paychecks for online classes in subjects ranging from English to physics have stimulated a lively debate across China that touches on the power of internet instruction, the state of Chinese education and the ethics of entrepreneurship.

Student's voice: Online courses are convenient, cheap and have given me more choices

A good thing about online courses is that you can see reviews from other students, just like online shopping. All of the teachers' information is posted online and I can choose teachers based on my style of learning. In addition to being very cheap and convenient, I don't have to take a long time to get somewhere and take the class. I can enjoy studying at my home during the winter. Online courses have no limits on attendance. The more students who sign up for the course, the cheaper it will be.

Gao Chao, a senior middle school student from Nanjing, Jiangsu province

Teacher's voice: Online teaching is not as easy as others think

Many would say online teaching is easy, which is not true. Teaching online requires loads of preparation work. For example, the PowerPoint needs to be prepared with a standard font and size. Teachers are not allowed to use any copyrighted photos without permission. After the preparation work is done, teachers have to rehearse in a real classroom. After the recording starts, teachers have to be very energetic in front of the camera and have to start over if there are mistakes. It can take days to complete a recording of one class.

A teacher surnamed Yang who works for New Oriental Education Technology Group

Lawyer's voice: Online teaching for extra pay violates laws and regulations

Public schools are public institutions. This means public school teachers are employees of public institutions and need to follow regulations of the specific institutions. According to the regulation on public institutions, employees should not make extra money by taking part-time jobs. Another regulation on the professional ethics of public school teachers also says that teachers may face penalties if they participate in part-time teaching activities for extra payment.

Zheng Chunnai, lawyer at Boren Law Firm based in Beijing

Industry insider's voice: An old issue with no solution yet

The key issue here is not "whether teachers can earn large amounts of money by teaching online". It should be "whether public school teachers can earn large amounts of money by teaching online as a part-time job". Many students, their parents and local education authorities think public school teachers should not take part-time jobs and earn extra pay. However, there is no article supporting this opinion, according to the Education Law of China and Teachers Law of China.

Xiong Bingqi, vice-president of the 21st Century Education Research Institute

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