The Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III recently said that his department estimated around 4 to 5 million Filipinos will be unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic, following the month-long nationwide lockdown.
Though lockdowns have been effectively flattening the infection curve, the trade-off is painful. As tourism, trade, and consumption drastically drop during the lockdowns, Philippine labour market may face an even more gloomy future.
Though the onsite job opportunities keep shrinking in the following months, another chance is opening for the Filipinos who have to work from home.
Since February, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced K-12 school districts to close, and sent more than 290 million children and youths home, data from UNESCO showed. Learning online has then become the only choice. This increase in demand has boosted online education platforms like 51Talk in China.
51Talk is China’s largest online English education company, and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (COE) in 2016. It brings together students and teachers for live, online English lessons. By providing students across China with access to the world’s best quality education, 51Talk is achieving its mission of helping China speak with the world.
According to 51Talk, there is a shortage of 500,000 foreign English-language teachers in China. The company said it now has 10 million registered students, and more than 20,000 partner teachers in the Philippines.
The founder and CEO of 51Talk, Jack Huang, see the outbreak as a turning point in the online education industry. “With the exploding demand for English-speaking teachers in China, there is probably never been a better time than right now to teach English online.” Huang said, adding that they still need 30,000 more teachers by 2020.