Chinese online education institution 51Talk has been asked to carry out rectifications, the education commission for the country’s capital city of Beijing said in a statement on Wednesday. The firm broke rules by offering classes on public holidays and during the summer vacation, as well as by selling training courses conducted by overseas nationals, the Beijing Municipal Education Commission said.
The inspection also found that some online discipline training institutions tried to avoid supervision through instant messaging, online conferences, live-streaming platforms and other channels to sell courses illegally. Regarding the above problems, the relevant departments have ordered immediate rectification and will carry out further investigation.
Since its establishment in July of 2011, 51Talk has adopted the learning mode of one-on-one online language teaching by foreign instructors, and has created an immersive English learning environment through its self-developed online interactive teaching software – the “Air Class” platform.
However, China’s Ministry of Education recently issued a document stating that “the employment of foreign personnel inside the borders of the PRC must comply with the relevant regulations, and the employment of overseas-based teachers to carry out training activities is strictly prohibited.” 51Talk, like its rival VIPKid, is now under intense regulatory pressure. VIPKid announced on August 7 that it will no longer sell new course packages involving overseas foreign teachers.
Under the background of the so-called “double reduction” policy, China has ramped up its effort to stamp out all for-profit tutoring, including banning private tutors from giving classes online. For many people in the education sector, the solution lies in integrating more of the positive aspects of private training centers and after-school child care services into the public system.