The BBC news published an article this week about China’s economy ‘slowing’ to a growth rate of (only) 9.5% per year. What this tells us is that even in its slowest growth periods, China is booming and growing at lightening speed.The demand for native English speakers is growing accordingly. As more people gain enough wealth to send their children to private language schools, new providers are popping up all over China. In my view the number of ESL teaching jobs across the country is going to increase rapidly over the next few years as China continues to develop as a nation.
It’s not just the extra cash floating around that ensures growth in the Chinese ESL market. The country’s culture is unique in its emphasis on educational success. With many families only having one child, the Chinese are keen to make a success of their son or daughter and constantly strive to give them the edge over others in life. They hope to achieve this in many ways, extra-curricular activities are particularly important. The Chinese know that for their child to get into the best universities and get the best jobs, they increasingly need to be proficient in spoken English. The Chinese middle-class tend to be competitive and it will often be the case that parents hear about their friend’s child going to a language school and follow suit to keep up with them.
The icing on the cake is that China is very much aware of the importance of English in engaging with a global economy. With new economic powerhouses emerging over the next few years, for instance Brazil and India, China needs to put itself in the best position to secure business deals with developed nations. The English language is, of course, the communicative lubricant of the international market.
All of this considered, it is a ‘no brainer’ that China’s ESL market is going to grow significantly over the coming years and the demand for native English speakers will increase as a result.