Chronicle Journal: Finance

Acceptance of the Widespread Transition to Online Learning Grows

NEW YORK, May 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Around the world, the pandemic and the measures taken to reduce the number of infected have helped to accelerate the transition from traditional educational avenues towards more online-based curriculums. In the beginning, when students first were forced to adopt to a new digital learning environment, some online learning advocates feared the hasty transition would leave students with a negative impression of online learning. Yet, according to a report by Inside Higher Ed, despite the challenges and shortcomings of this emergency transition to remote instruction, a majority of students want the option to keep studying online, new survey results say. The survey, conducted by The Digital Learning Pulse, includes responses from 772 teaching faculty, 514 academic administrators and 1,413 students who were registered at a U.S. higher education institution for both the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. The majority of students, 73%, "somewhat" or "strongly" (46%) agreed that they would like to take some fully online courses in the future. Meten EdtechX Education Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: METX), Stride, Inc. (NYSE: LRN), New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. (NYSE: EDU), Adtalem Global Education Inc. (NYSE: ATGE), 2U, Inc. (NASDAQ: TWOU)  

Besides the pandemic and its implications, the other major factors driving the growth of academic e-learning market size, in the long-term, are the increasing higher education e-Learning enrollment numbers and the launch of new online degrees. Online learning is also structured to save time and opens several doors to immersive learning. Instead of being passive, learners can choose what they need to learn quickly and easily, from wherever they are. Overall, the global online education market size is projected to reach USD 245.9 Billion by 2026, from USD 153.18 Billion in 2020 while witnessing a CAGR of 8.2% during 2021-2026, according to data provided by Valuates Reports.

Meten EdtechX Education Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: METX) announced breaking news last week that, "the gross billing and student enrollment of its junior ELT business increased by 485% and 483% respectively in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period of last year. The figures confirm that the Company has returned to its pre-pandemic rapid growth trajectory.

The Company is actively expanding its junior ELT business within its current network of 22 cities and has received positive market feedback. All of the Company's learning centers achieved their profit goals in March, and the centers in 7 out of the 22 cities (Foshan, Guangzhou, Changsha, Dongguan, Chengdu, Shenzhen, and Chongqing) recorded gross billing of over RMB1 million. In addition, the gross billing from student renewals and referrals accounted for 61% of the total gross billing of the Company's junior ELT business in the first quarter, demonstrating that the Company's products and services have been widely appreciated and recognized by students and their parents.

Through leveraging its business experience, vertical expansion strategy and brand influence, the Company expects its junior ELT business to achieve RMB121 million in gross billing in fiscal year 2021, which would represent an 82% increase compared to fiscal year 2020."

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Stride, Inc. (NYSE: LRN) announced earlier this year its partnership with 21K School, India's first online school that offers personalized and structured education programs for online students at home across the Indian subcontinent. "Stride, Inc. has a proven curriculum designed to help advance the education for learners of all ages, and in all places," said Scott Durand, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Learning Solutions. "This collaboration with 21K School in India gives Indian students the opportunity to advance their education and get ahead of the competition." Presently, 21K School offers their National Curriculum to over 300 K-5 students across 25+ cities in India and abroad. The international programs in association with Stride, Inc. would be available in India from the start of the next academic year and enrollment would begin on Jan. 14th, 2021.

New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. (NYSE: EDU) a provider of private educational services in China based on the number of program offerings, total student enrollments and geographic presence. New Oriental offers a wide range of educational programs, services and products consisting primarily of language training and test preparation, primary and secondary school education, online education, content development and distribution, overseas study consulting services, pre-school education and study tour. The company offers test preparation courses to students taking language and entrance exams used by educational institutions in the United States, the People's Republic of China, and the Commonwealth countries; and after-school tutoring courses for middle and high school students to achieve better scores on entrance exams for admission into high schools or higher education institutions, as well as for children to teach English.

Adtalem Global Education Inc. (NYSE: ATGE) medical schools, American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) and Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), reported back in March are helping fill critical shortages and bridge health disparities. A combined 856 AUC and RUSM graduates will enter residency programs this summer in 41 states following initial results from the U.S. National Resident Matching Program's 2021 Main Residency Match as of March 23rd, 2021. The Medical and Healthcare segment operates Chamberlain University, which provides a pre-licensure bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program, registered nurse (RN)-to-BSN degree completion option, and graduate programs. The Chamberlain University offers educational services through its 22 campuses and online. This segment also operates medical and veterinary schools, such as American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Ross University School of Medicine, and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.

2U, Inc. (NASDAQ: TWOU) and Keypath Education announced last month a joint initiative to power Pepperdine University's new online Master of Public Policy and Leadership (MPPL) degree. This program marks 2U's first partnership with the Pepperdine School of Public Policy and the 11th online degree offering that 2U powers across four schools at Pepperdine University. The announcement also marks the second 2U-Keypath joint initiative since the two companies announced a strategic partnership in February 2019. "With the pandemic impacting every industry and government sector in seismic ways, there has never been a more important moment to broaden access to rigorous, engaging, and flexible training for today and tomorrow's public leaders," said Pete Peterson, dean and Braun Family Dean's Chair of the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. "We are thrilled to begin this partnership with Keypath—building on Pepperdine University's thriving relationship with 2U—to expand the reach of our traditional MPP program, one of the highest-ranked programs of its kind in the West, with these unique added components of stackability and flexibility."

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