Part II – III Analysis on the Features of the Primary and Secondary Education Digitalization Market
I. Overview of primary and secondary education digitalization market
The market size of primary and secondary education digitalization is very large. The appropriation for educational digitalization stands at about RMB 200b per year, about RMB 80-100b of which is spent on applying IT to primary and secondary education and a large part of which goes toward the building of infrastructure and the purchase of server, network equipment and tablet PC. Online education is mainly characterized by software and technical service. It is inappropriate to include infrastructure into the online education research. The spending on software and service is estimated at about RMB 30b per year.
II. Main demands of primary and secondary education digitalization
There are many demands for applying IT to the primary and secondary education, which involves every aspect of education practice, such as preparation for classes, giving lessons, examinations, assessment and others. Only main demands relating to teaching are described in this paper.
- Courseware resource
Undoubtedly, courseware resource is the content resource needed most in applying IT to primary and secondary education. In particular, a vigorous campaign for producing and applying micro course in primary and secondary schools is upheld with the introduction of the flipped classroom, so the demand for such resource is very large. Especially exciting and high-quality micro course is very popular to schools.
- Examination papers bank
There is no doubt that sitting an exam is now an important part of teaching in primary and secondary schools, driving the large demand for the service of updating enormous examination papers. The demand for online component test papers and testing is also very high.
- Lessons-preparation system
There are a lot of materials such as voice, photos, video and teaching plan relevant to teaching contents in the lessons-preparation system, so the demand for which is very high. Such a system provides teachers with materials and conditions necessary for making courseware.
- Online teaching platform
Online teaching platform, an important function of “three communications and two platforms” is now the application greatly advocated by the Ministry of Education, with the functions of course learning, online live teaching, online testing, homework publication and correction.
- Mobile teaching platform
Mobile teaching platform is a teaching system operating on tablet PC and mobile phone and allowing teachers and students to conduct lessons teaching as well as interactive test and feedback via mobile terminal, thus bringing teaching into the era of mobile Internet.
- Parents-schools intercommunication platform
Parents-schools intercommunication platform (parents-schools interconnection) means a platform of intercommunication for students’ parents and schools, e.g. notification of participating a meeting from schools to parents, release of students’ academic performance, teachers’ comments and information on students’ attendance, etc. Such products mainly include Qtone, Talkweb and others. There are hundreds of Chinese companies selling such products.
- Big data analysis
Big data analysis refers to the demand for analyzing students’ enormous data generated on learning platform and regular examination system in all directions. It can analyze students’ learning weakness and the quality of teachers’ teaching, providing supportive data for improving teaching quality.
III. Features of primary and secondary education digitalization market
The characteristics of complicated primary and secondary education digitalization market are as follows:
- A lot of companies but many unknown ones
About more than one thousand companies are engaged in primary and secondary education digitalization, with bigger players including Xk, iFLYTEK, Xuelecn, Ks5u, People’s Education Press and thousands of others. But due to operating in different cities and provinces, and the complex relationship of B2G, even though many companies earns a large revenue (more than one hundred million Yuan), yet they always remain silent, for they do not want to make themselves known to the industry. Therefore, institutional primary and secondary online education market is up in the air, for it seems that there are few companies in this industry, but as a matter of fact, there are a lot.
- Decentralized market
Many companies have their own product line and customer group, leading to a high level of dispersion in the market. Their annual revenue ranges from tens of millions to hundreds of millions Yuan. The market is decentralized without full competition and development, thereby providing a good opportunity for companies with strength in technology and product.
The golden period for applying IT to primary and secondary schools will come in the following three to ten years. Aircraft-carrier companies will appear in this field. The decentralized market will gradually become centralized by product field, so now is a good time for companies in this industry.
- Regions polarizing the market
Applying IT to primary and secondary education is financed by the ministry of education, departments of education and local departments of finance, as well as other institutions, and is greatly affected by local finance, so the finance is basically connected with local economic development and importance attached to this effort.
- Sensitiveness to policies
Applying IT to primary and secondary education is greatly affected by policies. The “three communications and two platforms” plan made by the ministry of education now has a great effect on main features of applying IT to primary and secondary education, so enterprises shall pay attention to studying policies so as to better meet policy needs of industrial development.
On the other hand, enterprises shall not follow policies without a purpose, but need to develop characteristic quality products and services that can meet the needs of students, teachers and schools according to their own features. It is not wise to completely follow policies, so they shall have their own understanding of online education.
- Part II – II Analysis on the Market Size of Online Primary and Secondary Education
This is a series of articles from Blue Book of China’s Online Education Industry, authored by our partner China Online Education Research Institute (COERI). Each post is a chapter from the blue book.