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China tutoring firm fires 60,000 staff since Beijing crackdown

By Guardian Nigeria
10 January 2022   |   12:34 pm
One of China's biggest tutoring firms has said it shed tens of thousands of staff last year, revealing the extent of damage to the multibillion-dollar sector as Beijing cracks down on private education.

One of China’s biggest tutoring firms has said it shed tens of thousands of staff last year, revealing the extent of damage to the multibillion-dollar sector as Beijing cracks down on private education.

China imposed new rules on tutoring companies in 2021 to force them to go non-profit as part of a series of moves designed to reduce pressure on schoolchildren in the country’s cut-throat education system.

The founder and chairman of New Oriental Education & Technology said in a social media post at the weekend that the firm had dismissed 60,000 staff as revenue plunged 80 percent.

The Hong Kong-listed company lost 90 percent of its market value through the year, he added.

“In 2021, New Oriental encountered too many changes, with much of our business in a state of uncertainty due to policies, the pandemic, international relations and other reasons,” wrote Yu Minhong on his WeChat account.

The group has since stopped much of its teaching, both in person and online.

In a separate post on Monday, Yu added that despite the cutbacks New Oriental still employs around 50,000 staff and teachers, whose livelihoods “depend on the healthy and sustainable development of New Oriental”.

Private teaching firms had long tapped into vast demand for academic success in China, with armies of parents eager to get their kids ahead in a ruthless education system in which a single exam can determine a life’s trajectory.

With Beijing’s new rules effectively wiping out its business model, New Oriental has looked to boost investments in businesses targeting college students and Chinese overseas.

It is also exploring new sectors such as the sale of agricultural products, according to Yu.

The cost of education has been cited by many young Chinese as a reason they are unwilling to have more children, even after China formally allowed all couples to have three children last year in a bid to stave off an ageing population.