K12 confirms continuing Chinese investment

US online education group K12 will better align its online curriculum with the Chinese government's vision of education, despite legal problems with a former partner.

US online education group K12 has reiterated its determination to invest in China, despite legal issues with WEBi English.

Its investment will be made to better align with the Chinese government's vision of education, James Rhyu, K12's chief financial officer, said in Shanghai on Thursday.

China’s education market is expected to be worth 10 trillion yuan (US$1.5 trillion) by 2020, attracting companies including K12, the largest online education institution in the United States. K12 refers to education from kindergarten through 12th grade. 

However, while the K12 curriculum has a broad range of subjects including advanced placement courses, it’s based on US concepts, particularly for subjects such as history and English which feature US history, and the books are largely focused on US authors.

“We are sensitive to the cultural differences between the K12 system and China’s educational model. One way to bridge the gap between the two is for K12 to find good partners in China to work with,” said Rhyu. “We can adjust the curriculum to the needs of the local China model.”

In 2010, K12 invested US$10 million in WEBi, an education provider in China. But WEBi failed to fulfill its obligations, Rhyu said, forcing K12 to resort to legal proceedings.

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