Online Learning in China during COVID-19: Some Lessons

14 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2020

Date Written: August 31, 2020


Continuity in learning has been a key issue during the long drawn out quarantines and lockdowns for education institutions. China, after declaring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on 31 December 2019, battled the disease using unprecedented public health measures, including a cordon sanitaire and lockdowns that affected millions of Chinese. Public gatherings were banned and all schools were closed indefinitely during this public health emergency.

With the world’s largest student population of the 176 million K-12 students, the Chinese education system is the largest state-run education system in the world. China has one of the largest education markets in the world, at an estimated USD300 billion in revenues. In 2018, the market size of China’s online education industry was valued at 250 billion yuan with a market penetration rate of 10 per cent. COVID-19 had turned China into a testbed for remote work and education.

Given the large and diverse student population and a relatively mature online education sector, Chinese efforts to maintain continuity in learning during the COVID-19 shutdown offers a wealth of lessons on remotely delivered education, particularly for schools.

Keywords: continuity in learning, online education, remote learning China

JEL Classification: I00, I26, I28

Suggested Citation

Gulati, Monish, Online Learning in China during COVID-19: Some Lessons (August 31, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

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