What are the challenges that institutions face when investing in international education in China?
To begin with, the current regulations pertaining to education are very restrictive, especially with respect to foreigners. It is all but impossible for a foreigner to obtain an education license. Foreign institutions in most cases must partner with a local institution to enter the market, often time木s under less-than-favorable terms. Further, there are heavy restrictions on the types of teachers that can be hired. Regulations related to financial controls are also a barrier for foreign investors. It is difficult for foreign institutions to transfer profits or capital gains outside of China.
How will Chinese students looking to study abroad affect local higher education institutions?
The demand for Chinese looking to study abroad is large and getting larger. While some might think that this will have a negative impact on local institutions by drawing the best students away, I don’t think it will. Firstly, the number of Chinese students who are able to go abroad is relatively small compared to the overall student population. Secondly, China has some excellent institutions that are well branded and continue to draw high-quality students. In fact, in my estimation, many of the students whose parents are motivated to send them abroad are those who are not the top students but can get accepted at a second-tier school in the U.S., for example. Many of the foreign universities are happy to have Chinese students capable of paying the full tuition.
How does technology play a role in higher education?
Technology will play an ever-increasing role in education. MOOCs are one application of technology in education, allowing students to take courses from some of the world’s most prestigious universities via the internet. The downside of MOOCs is that they don’t incorporate the same level of live interaction that a student can get in a face-to-face classroom. However, companies like ILE are forging the way with next-generation technology that enables students to get live instruction one-on-one or in small groups via the internet. This opens the possibility for a student to find the right teacher no matter how far away the teacher might be. Look for this type of service to soon be available directly on a mobile phone or pad. Once this type of teaching (live, via the internet) becomes more widely adopted, it will change the entire economic structure of the education industry, since the cost of real estate and travel time (to-from the classroom) will be greatly reduced.
Other ways in which technology is transforming education is through gamification and social networking.
How do you view technology in the education industry?
I think that the education industry is the next to be radically transformed for the better by technology, much in the same way that Uber is transforming transportation, Amazon transformed media or PayPal transformed finance. Technology will enable far more effective and cheaper interaction between student and teacher than was ever possible before, reducing many of the economic barriers that make education cost-prohibitive for much of the world’s population. Further, we will see a blurring of the line that distinguishes a coach from a teacher, enabling millions of people to learn from others who have the right experience but aren’t necessarily professional educators.
What are the challenges and solutions for companies and the Chinese government to fill employment gaps?
Globalization is a phenomenon that has accelerated exponentially in recent decades, spurred on by the advent of the internet and the rise of huge developing economies such as China and India. At the heart of interaction is communication and, for a variety of historical reasons, English has emerged as the de facto global language of business communication.
While convenient for native English speakers, this reality presents an enormous challenge, and in some cases a barrier, for Chinese professionals to engage and thrive in a global business environment. Nonetheless, in many Western European countries such as Germany, France or Holland, a post-war environment that was heavily influenced by the U.S. and U.K. has engendered a culture that embraces English, and people are thus capable of communicating with others using English.
As China’s economy continues to globalize, its work force needs to improve its ability to communicate in a global business environment if Chinese companies are going to compete with European and American counterparts. Given the size of China’s workforce and the speed with which the global economy changes, only a solution that leverages the scalability and efficiency of mobile/online technology will be able to address this problem.