China’s educational policy : Double Reduction Policy and its impact on foreign teachers

Many foreign teachers know that China’s education industry has undergone tremendous changes in 2021. Numerous educational institutions have been closed and a large number of training teachers have been laid off. The reason for this dramatic change is the adoption of the new rule of China’s education industry – the Double Reduction Policy.

What is the Chinese Double Reduction Policy?

“Double Reduction” means “to effectively reduce the burden of excessive homework and off-campus training for students in compulsory education”. In order to achieve this goal, the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of the State Council of China have issued an administrative regulation named “Opinions on Further Reducing the Burden of Compulsory Education Students’ Homework and Off-campus Training” on July 24, 2021. The regulation has imposed many restrictions and a serious and far-reaching impact on the education industry, especially the educational training industry that is closely related to foreign teachers. The regulation, therefore, is referred to as the Double Reduction Policy (“Policy”).

What impact has the Policy brought to the foreign education industry in China?

Based on our interpretation of the Policy and feedback from many clients in the education industry, we believe that the Policy has at least brought the following impacts to the foreign education industry:

1. The training content is divided into “subject category” and “quality category”, and the development of “subject category” training is comprehensively restricted, while English teaching belongs to “subject category” training.

According to the “Guidelines for Classification and Identification of Off-campus Training Programs in Compulsory Education Stage” issued by the Ministry of Education of China on November 16, 2021, English teaching belongs to subject education, and English training institutions belong to subject training institutions. According to the Policy, “subject category” training institutions will be subject to very strict restrictions, such as not allowed to make profits, not allowed to absorb capital financing, and not allowed to be conducted on holidays or weekends.

2. The development time of “subject category” training will be greatly restricted, causing a large number of foreign teachers to face unemployment.

The Policy clearly stipulates that off-campus training institutions shall not be conducted during national holidays, rest days, and winter and summer vacations. Online training should pay attention to protecting the eyesight of students and each lesson should not exceed 30 minutes, the interval between lessons should be no less than 10 minutes, and the training end time should not be later than 21 o’clock. This will greatly shorten the business hours of education and training institutions, reduce business volume, and greatly reduce the living space of those institutions.

3. “Subject category” training institutions shall not absorb capital financing.

The Policy clearly stipulates that “subject category” training institutions shall not be listed for financing, and the capitalized operations are strictly prohibited, and the listed companies shall not invest in “subject category” training institutions through stock market financing, and shall not purchase the assets of “subject category” training institutions by issuing shares or paying cash. Foreign capital is not allowed through mergers and acquisitions, entrust operation, franchise, or use variable interest entities and other methods to control or participate in “subject category” training institutions. As a result, a large number of “subject category” education institutions will experience a rupture of the capital chain, and the large-scale and rapid development that was originally based on capital will disappear. This is why a large number of training institutions, and even private schools are layoffs and shrinking.

4. The new establishment of subject training institutions shall be stopped, and existing subject training institutions will be registered as non-profit institutions.

This is also one of the reasons why a large number of foreign teachers are unemployed. As a non-profit organization, subject training institutions will not be allowed to charge students tuition fees that exceed their operating costs. For example, if a training organization’s annual teacher cost is 500,000 yuan, the rental cost of school buildings is 500,000 yuan, and other costs such as the management fee is also 500,000 yuan, and the training institution is only allowed to charge 1,500,000 yuan tuition fees each year to offset the cost, and any excess income may incur administrative penalties. Therefore, a large number of subject training institutions will face bankruptcy. After all, one of the main purposes of many training institutions is to make money. And because no new subject training institutions is allowed to be opened, many foreign teachers can no longer find a similar new work after losing their jobs, which has exacerbated the loss of foreign teachers.

5. Advertising will become history.

The Policy clearly stipulates that education and training institutions and projects are prohibited from carrying out advertisements. Not only that, any advertisements related to education and training that may cause parents’ anxiety are also prohibited. Since then, the era of education and training institutions to seize the market, absorb investment, and recruit students through overwhelming advertising will come to an end. A large number of education and training institutions will face huge marketing default losses and at the same time, the entire industry will enter a recession. The development model of rapid growth will be gone forever.

6. Not only education and training for elementary and junior high schools (approximately 6 to 15 years old) are restricted, but those for preschool and high school education and training are also restricted.

No new preschool (before 6 years old) and high school level (15 to 17 years old) education and training institutions is allowed to be newly established. It is not allowed to carry out any type online education and offline “subject category” education for preschool children. Therefore, a large number of foreign language teaching for preschool children will have to stop.

7. It is forbidden for foreign teachers outside China to conduct any type of online training, and the qualifications of foreign teachers in China will be the focus of the review.

The new policy strictly prohibits training institutions from hiring foreign teachers located outside of China to conduct education and training activities. Therefore, many large cross-border training institutions, such as VIPKID, have announced that they will completely stop online foreign teaching. And even if you are a foreign teacher located in China, in the future, whether you have a Chinese-recognized teacher qualification, a legal visa, and the ability to meet the teaching standards will become the main content of strictly review. By then, many foreign teachers will also face The danger of unemployment.

In general, due to the release of the Policy, whether it is foreign teachers in training institutions outside the school, or foreign teachers hired inside the private school, due to the shortage of funds in the entire industry, the limited profitability, the sharp decline of students, the closure of channels, and their own factors such as qualification restrictions and working hours, may have to face a big risk of unemployment.

Some solutions for foreign teachers.

Open adult training courses: the Policy does not restrict or prohibit training courses for adults. Therefore, foreign teacher courses in English or other subjects for adults after the age of 18 will become a development possibility.

Transfer to quality education: in contrast to English teaching, those quality education training courses, which include training in art, sports, music, etc. are less restricted. Also, many training institutions also intend to hire foreign teachers to carry out such quality courses, since students are expected to be able to get an environment of conversation in English while exercising or studying art.

More information contact me.