Chinese have traditionally placed high priority in education. Since the 1980’s, English was included in high school curriculum and later as a mandatory class in elementary schools. As China opens up to the world and growing personal wealth, Chinese families are able to afford to send their children abroad to purse higher education. Many of them are disappointed with China’s broken education system and anxious about the fierce competition to get into college. The market to teach English (so students can earn high scores on TOEFL and GRE) has experienced an astonishing boom over the past two decades. The growing population of foreigners in China, especially in cities such as Shanghai, has created a huge demand for international schools that are seeking out native English speakers who can also teach subjects like Math and Science.
- Nearly 600,000 foreigners live in Mainland China. Shanghai is home to more than 260,000, double the population in Beijing. Among them, more than 23,000 are American.
- Scholars suggest that Shanghai would attract more foreigners if they provide better services catering to foreigners. To provide families with high-quality international schools is one of them.
- There are an estimated 30,000 companies that provide English lessons across China.
- The English teaching market has almost doubled its size from 2006 to 2010. The market size reached $3.1 billion in 2010.
- Foreign firms, particularly American companies, possess a huge advantage in the teaching market. Parents generally prefer native speakers to teach their children English.
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About Education Internships in Shanghai
According to the China Education Center, "Many Chinese scholars believe the history of education in China can be traced back at as far as the 16th century B.C."
With such deep roots in Chinese culture, it should come as no surprise that in 2014, education in China is also big business, and private companies everywhere are taking advantage of this boom by rolling out new training products and services- ranging from corporate IT training to team-building classes to English training- at an unprecedented pace.
For many foreigners in China, their experience with its massive education industry begins with English teaching. After all, in China "there are 200 million children who are learning English, and nearly 40% of them learn English in professional English training agencies."
But while education in China begins with English teaching, it doesn't have to end there.
This is because Shanghai is host to a number of different startups and SMEs who have their roots in the education industry. One company we partner with at SmartIntern runs the world's largest online language learning marketplace. Another is a startup that specializes in creating Android and iPhone apps for the education industry.
Other companies in China's education industry are capitalizing on the growing trend of Chinese students studying overseas. Education companies that specialize in guiding Chinese students through the process of applying to international schools are prevalent in Shanghai, but finding the righft one is not necessarily easy, as the industry is full of unscrupulous agencies that will actually fabriacte entire applications, work histories, transcripts, and admissions essays on behalf of their clients. But don't let these unscrupulous business practices scare you away-SmartIntern only works with ethical study abroad agencies with a track record of transparent and honest business practices.
It's no coincidence that some of our strongest partners in the education industry are startups. After all, the industry is poised for disruption, with Harvard professor Clayton Christensen saying that higher education specifically is "is just on the edge of the crevasse" of major change as it begins to shift away from traditional modes of teaching to new, virtual ones.
More interested in teaching than disrupting? Not a problem- SmartIntern can pair you with one of the many schools we work with in the greater Shanghai area. Shanghai is home to a number of international schools as well as local primary and secondary schools who are in constant need of foreign talent. If you are studying for a degree in education or a related field and have a TOEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certificate then you will have an overwhelming amount of options, but even non-native speakers of English find themselves solicited for English teaching jobs in China.