China Bans Education Apps for Pre-School Children to Reduce Smartphone Addiction
In a regressive decision, Beijing’s education authorities banned new education applications for pre-school children and nodded removing the existing ones as it continues the crackdown on private tutoring in the country.
Mobile apps that target pre-school children have been specifically banned as per the latest decree issued by the Chinese authorities to reduce the screen time of children and addiction to smartphones which are becoming a social problem in China, local media reported.
In addition, tutoring apps targeting all ages shall not provide “negative or undesirable information”, “nor shall they contain gaming links or ads”, according to a regulation co-issued by the municipal education, cyberspace, and communications administrations on Monday. The draft rule was published in February.
In July last year, Chinese officials announced an outright ban on for-profit tutoring services for core school subjects in a bid to improve the quality of education and boost the country’s flagging birth rate. China’s authorities have put a ban on private tutoring, dealing a heavy blow to the private tutoring sector worth $120 billion (roughly Rs. 9,28,630 crore). On July 24, Chinese regulators published reforms that will fundamentally alter the business model of private firms teaching the school curriculum. Beijing hopes to overhaul the sector it believes has been taken over by capitalism.
The move caused New York-listed Chinese tutoring firm New Oriental Education & Technology Group to cut its workforce by 60,000 and its shares to plunge by 75 percent since late July, said media outlet Asia Financial.
This was one of the most dramatic decisions that took place in a year, featuring many regulatory crackdowns across a wide range of sectors.
Tencent-backed VIPKid, which claims to have 80,000 teachers in North America, now advertises English learning services for adults on its website.
Since China’s authorities imposed a ban on private tutoring, the industries are dealing a heavy blow to the private tutoring sector worth $120 billion (roughly Rs. 9,28,630 crore).
Private education firms have been prohibited from launching an initial public offering (IPO) or hiring foreign teachers based outside of China, Asia Financial reported.