According to Reuters, many international schools in China face understaffing as teachers are trying to leave the country due to Beijing’s strict Covid-fight measures.
The news outlet cited the Association of China and Mongolia International Schools, a school group with 3,600 teachers, saying that about 40% of teachers in mainland China will leave jobs this year, up from 30% last year and 15% before the pandemic.
The group’s executive director, Tom Ulmet, told Reuters that hiring replacement is getting harder.
Last year, Beijing launched a crackdown on the private tutoring sector, severely hitting the 120 billion-dollars business. Regulations include banning foreign curricula or hiring foreigners outside of China to teach remotely.
Since the pandemic first started in 2020, hundreds of thousands of international students had to leave China in the first wave of the coronavirus. Then they faced uncertainty and an unknown education future in China as their visas were denied to get back to the country to resume their education.
Covid curbs force many foreign families to leave, and with many unreturned international students, foreign schools in China will have to face a drop in enrolment.
China’s middle-class parents find foreign schools as a good alternative to improve their children’s education.
By 2019 the number of international schools in China has reached 821.
As reported by Reuters, tuition and fee for one year at those schools are about 44,000 dollars; international schools are estimated to receive about 8.2 billion dollars annually.
As the Covid measures are still in effect in multiple cities across China with little sign of easing, students are expected to attend virtual classes. This leads to concerns from parents about the class quality.
In a May survey of European firms by the European Chamber of Commerce, all respondents from the education sector said Beijing’s strict Covid-fight measures made China a less attractive investment destination.