To mark its first decade in the industry, online English education platform 51Talk held its 10 Years Certified Conference 2021 in Beijing, China to update its stakeholders about its education innovation initiatives and future plans to enhance the user experience of teachers and students alike. In the Philippines, the 51Talk platform is used by a community of 30,000 online English teachers who earn in the safety and comfort of their own homes, which is considered a boon to livelihood seekers throughout the pandemic.
In his keynote address, 51Talk Founder and CEO Jack Huang emphasized the important role of Filipino teachers in delivering high-quality online English lessons to students.
“During the past decade, Filipino teachers have risen to become one of the most popular foreign teaching groups in China. As the online education industry matures, Filipino teachers are expected to play a bigger role in the future, both for 51Talk and bilateral exchanges,” said Mr. Huang.
Online English teaching a boon for Filipinos and bilateral exchanges
This past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a challenge to the economic activity of the international community, and the Philippines is no exception. Against the backdrop of high unemployment rates and a sluggish economy, 51Talk announced in May 2020 that it would provide livelihood opportunities for thousands more Filipino online English teachers.
Through a video message, 51Talk home-based teacher Zeeryl Vivi shared her story at the conference, which was attended by the international and Chinese press, and education stakeholders.
“Living in a small city here in the Philippines, there are a few opportunities available to me. 51Talk allowed me to live my life to the fullest while also enjoying a few niceties once in a while, so I consider this as a blessing to me and my family,” said the 24-year-old teacher, adding that “through online English education between Filipino teachers and Chinese students, a deep connection and a digital bridge of friendship is being built.”
Zeeryl is one of the thousands of 51Talk teachers who have shared their experiences about their home-based livelihood. By using the hashtags #51TalkLife and #Proudly51Talk on social media, they shared how grateful they are to have a steady source of income, especially during the pandemic.
Leah Tara, a 51Talk teacher, has this to share on her social media. “When the pandemic happened, I felt thankful and blessed to have this livelihood. It became not just my bread and butter, but my stress reliever as well. I’m now also pursuing a graduate degree, thanks to 51Talk. I’m a student by day and an online teacher by night and weekends,” said Leah.
“In the era of the pandemic, 51Talk proved to be a big blessing for me and my family,” shared teacher Kristie Aya on another social media site. “We survived a lot of challenges in life because of this.”
“These are just a few examples of how 51Talk teachers’ lives are changed one online lesson at a time. On top of providing quality English language education to Chinese students, 51Talk teachers also go beyond their duties to ensure our students grow and develop as successful individuals,” added Mr. Huang.
51Talk has also fostered partnerships with the academe, tech industry, and especially the government to achieve its goal of empowering Filipinos through online teaching opportunities.
At the Sino-Philippines Educational Exchanges Seminar held on October 2020, the Philippine Ambassador to China and the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines have both acknowledged 51Talk’s efforts in providing livelihood opportunities for Filipinos, and how it cultivates educational cooperation and cultural exchanges between the two countries.
At the seminar, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian appreciated the role of online education and other booming digital industries in China in cultivating a win-win relationship between the two countries. He shared that 51Talk has helped in accelerating the development of online education in China while at the same time providing a large number of job and livelihood opportunities for Filipinos. On the other hand, Philippine Ambassador Jose Santiago Sta. Romana was grateful for 51Talk’s contribution in enabling educational and cultural exchanges between Filipinos and the Chinese.
51Talk announces a holistic online English language learning system
In learning the English language at a young age, it is important to address and build upon the four foundations of language learning: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In response to users’ expanding needs, 51Talk announced the launch of a comprehensive English learning system for K12 learners.
Through innovations using artificial intelligence (AI) technology, students at 51Talk will be able to interact with virtual teachers who will guide them with warm-up activities before the live classes conducted by Filipino teachers.
In China, the market scale of online English teaching targeting children ages 4 to 12 has exceeded 26 billion yuan ($4.02 billion) in 2020 according to iMedia Research. As online consumption continued to grow as part of China’s national consumption program and the study-from-home becoming part of the new normal, these figures are expected to rise in 2021 and in the years to come.
Meanwhile, a report released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in March 2020 about China’s online English-tutoring platforms which focus on children showed that 51Talk ranks first in the industry, with a market share of up to 46 percent.
To become a home-based online English teacher at 51Talk, you may sign-up at www.51talk.ph.