China Daily (Canada) - - HOLIDAY -

or Alibaba; what they of­fer are flex­i­ble roles and com­pet­i­tive re­mu­ner­a­tion, with a prom­ise to sweeten the deal fur­ther in the fu­ture.

“It makes em­i­nent busi­ness sense for Chi­nese on­line ed­u­ca­tion providers to at­tract over­seas teach­ers. This helps ac­cess in­tel­lec­tual re­sources glob­ally,” said Zhou Zhe, au­dit part­ner of PwC China.

More than 60,000 North Amer­i­can teach­ers now teach one-on-one English cour­ses on VIPKid, a Chi­nese on­line ed­u­ca­tion startup. 51Talk, an­other on­line English-tu­tor­ing plat­form, links 15,000 Filipino teach­ers with Chi­nese kids.

Shang­hai-based on­line ed­u­ca­tion com­pany iTu­tor­group has also at­tracted more than 15,000 for­eign teach­ers from English-speak­ing coun­tries across the world, in­clud­ing the UK, Canada and Aus­tralia.

An­a­lysts said earn­ings from Chi­nese on­line ed­u­ca­tion com­pa­nies are com­pet­i­tive in terms of time and en­ergy spent, es­pe­cially when you fac­tor in the fact that some of the US pub­lic school teach­ers are of­ten un­der­paid and strug­gle to make a de­cent liv­ing.

Cathe­rina, 46, a for­mer pub­lic school teacher from Ken­tucky in the US, now works part-time with VIPKid. With an av­er­age of five classes per day, each of which lasts 25 min­utes, she earns roughly $24,000 to $36,000 per year.

The more she teaches, the more she will earn — bonus could mean teach­ing on hol­i­days.

Ex­ec­u­tives of the Bei­jing­based com­pany said a for­eign teacher could earn more than $70,000 a year, ri­valling the av­er­age an­nual in­come of a pub­lic school teacher in the US.

In the US, the na­tional av­er­age of start­ing salary of teach­ers is $38,617, while the av­er­age salary of ex­pe­ri­enced teach­ers is $58,950, ac­cord­ing to data from the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion.

Even on 51Talk, where the ma­jor­ity of tu­tors are from the Philip­pines, teach­ers pull in a de­cent sum of around 430,000 peso ($7,945) per year, which is much higher than the coun­try’s av­er­age an­nual in­come of 176,000 peso.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies fol­low the lo­cal laws ap­pli­ca­ble to the tu­tors, who work in the ca­pac­ity of in­de­pen­dent con­trac­tors, hence pay taxes on their in­come lo­cally. Typ­i­cally, pay­ments af­ter tax de­duc­tions are made di­rectly into their bank ac­counts in lo­cal cur­rency.

“Be­sides earn­ings, flex­i­bil­ity is an­other im­por­tant rea­son that for­eign teach­ers ap­ply for the part-time jobs as they can take ad­van­tage of their spare time to teach,” said Lyu Sen­lin, founder and chief re­searcher at the Learneasy Times On­line

It’s ap­par­ent the big­gest de­mand for for­eign lan­guage tu­tor­ing comes from China.”

Ed­u­ca­tion Re­search In­sti­tute, an in­dus­try re­search con­sul­tancy.

On­line plat­forms’ for­eign teach­ers can ar­range classes to suit to their con­ve­nience. They can log in and teach from any quiet place.

Pres­ti­gia­como, who had a baby and couldn’t work dur­ing the day, is now able to take care of her baby and at the same time teach six days a week. Cathe­rina agreed that work­ing like this was “per­fect” be­cause she could teach at a time that suited her.

“It’s also a shin­ing ex­am­ple of the eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion,” she said. “On­line ed­u­ca­tion, as the lat­est form of in­ter­net econ­omy, is overcoming the lim­its of ge­og­ra­phy and time zones.”

For long, China has iden­ti­fied ed­u­ca­tion as a top pri­or­ity. Since 2016, the gov­ern­ment has been in­vest­ing over 3 tril­lion yuan a year in ed­u­ca­tion. This ac­counts for around 4 per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct. Chi­nese par­ents have high ex­pec­ta­tions of their kids and are will­ing to spend big money for high-qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion.

Beijing’s Jing Zhiqiang, 42, a fa­ther of a 9-year-old son, parted with 10,980 yuan ($1,500) for a set of 72 classes for his ju­nior. The lad at­tends four classes a week on an on­line ed­u­ca­tion plat­form.

The fam­ily spends 2,400 yuan per month for an on­line English course. That’s half of Beijing’s per-capita monthly dis­pos­able in­come of around 4,800 yuan last year.

For Jing, the first rea­son be­hind choos­ing the on­line course is that his chil­dren can take one-on-one per­son­al­ized tu­tor­ing from na­tive English speak­ers. This, he be­lieves, will help the kid.

“Also, home-based tu­tor­ing is a great re­lief for both my wife and me as we don’t have much time to pick up and send the child to tu­tor­ing in­sti­tutes,” said Jing. “Par­tic­u­larly in Beijing where the traf­fic is of­ten ter­ri­ble, we ac­tu­ally save a lot of road time... Time is money, isn’t it?”

Zhou from PwC said, “It’s ap­par­ent the big­gest de­mand for for­eign lan­guage tu­tor­ing comes from China. The mar­ket will con­tinue to grow driven by de­mand for study­ing abroad, busi­ness trips as well as trav­el­ling.”

His view is in line with a re­port from UBS Se­cu­ri­ties that the mar­ket scale is ex­pected to exceed 714 bil­lion yuan by 2025.

“Such a bur­geon­ing busi­ness de­ter­mines that the coun­try will surely pro­vide more and more flex­i­ble op­por­tu­ni­ties to for­eign na­tion­als out­side China in the fu­ture, bring­ing more and more ben­e­fits for both Chi­nese and for­eign economies,” said Lyu.

In a sense, China-based on­line ed­u­ca­tion star­tups could be said to pro­mote in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic and cultural ties, given that em­ploy­ment and job­less rate are big con­cerns in many coun­tries, and trade tar­iff dis­putes tend to sour peo­ple-to-peo­ple sen­ti­ments.

Kim Say­lor, 52, an English­language teacher based in Texas in the US, has taught 450 stu­dents over 2,300 classes on VIPKid. She said she was pleas­antly sur­prised to find that she had forged many warm re­la­tion­ships with Chi­nese fam­i­lies.

One of her stu­dents made her a birth­day card and held it up in front of the com­puter cam­era to greet her. For her part, Say­lor makes cup­cakes and dis­patches them in a spe­cial par­cel all the way to China for her stu­dents’ birth­days.

“I was so moved when he took out a card­board vi­o­lin, put in a CD and ser­e­naded me,” re­called Say­lor.

“Op­por­tu­ni­ties to con­nect with stu­dents out­side of the class­room make these con­nec­tions so much stronger.”

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