Opportunity, Collaboration & Discovery

Disney's Schools In China

CJ Westerberg, December 6, 2010 6:17 AM

" Disney's focus groups find that for Chinese parents,
'education means everything'.
English, in particular, is viewed as a ticket to the wider world ..."

Who knew?  The Economist reports that Disney is in the education business.  In China. 
While some U.S. schools are teaching Mandarin, apparently the Chinese are clamoring to learn English.   The word about Disney's English language schools "is spreading through the pushy-parent network" in China: 

" . . .Easch lesson is assisted by virtual mermaids, ducks, mice and other Disney icons. Touch the answer to a question (a fried egg, for example) on one screen, and it plops out of the sky on the other. While teachers instruct, the classroom seems to move.

Most students seem happy and engaged. As they ask each other questions, their English sounds no less articulate than that of similarly-aged Americans. Thousands of Chinese children have signed up for Disney's schools since the first one was opened in October 2008.

Tuition is $1,800 a year: a big sum in China. But Disney claims that its results are impressive. It has ten schools in Shanghai, five in Beijing and plans to double that number in the next year . .

The profit potential is enormous:

"Disney's focus groups find that for Chinese parents, 'education means everything'. English, in particular, is viewed as a ticket to the wider world, says Mr Sugerman. Studies commissioned by Disney estimate that the market for children's English-language education in China is growing by 12% annually and will reach $3.7 billion by 2012. . .

There is an equally dynamic market for adult education. . "

Originally published by The Daily Riff August 2010
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