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Children's programming company: under the banner of high technology, actually like a milk tea shop to join?

via:腾讯新闻     time:2019/10/20 9:29:53     readed:407

On March 31, 2019, at the zhantang campus of Hefei children's art school, Anhui Province, the contestants are carrying out robot programming. (icphoto / Figure)

(this article was launched on October 17, 2019 "Southern weekend")

Since the introduction of physical programming, Anan has also begun to receive kindergarten students, the youngest is only 5 years old.

The trend of national programming is driven by both business interests and anxiety about parents looking for new shortcuts after the ban.

Some children's programming companies, although under the banner of high-tech, are actually no different from milk tea's fast franchising.

"there are no children who don't like this and can still face the computer." Ms. Xia, who works in the investment promotion office of a commercial square in Foshan, found a children's programming organization among the merchants stationed in the property to send their children to learn C. Her child is currently a junior high school student in Huaying School in Foshan City.

Computer programming, which was originally a college course and a basic tool of IT industry, is now widely used. People from the elderly, children and all walks of life seem to be interested in programming overnight.

Of course, the most popular is children's programming. One popular saying in the industry is that children's programming originated in the United States, and the iconic event is that MIT has developed a graphical programming software for children, Scratch, which is also the most widely used children's programming software in China.

Former US President Barack Obama has advocated children's programming on many occasions. In 2015, in an interview with us technology media re / code, he said that if the US wants to continue to lead in global technological innovation, American schools need to better help students develop in the field of science and technology. Everyone should learn how to program earlier.

In 2014, Zhejiang Province incorporated information technology into the subject of college entrance examination. Since then, more and more education policies have been tilted. A number of children's programming companies have sprung up in China. With the pursuit of capital, they are also rapidly emerging. But it is difficult to guarantee the quality of joining, is to let children's programming companies with the fastest speed running horse enclosure way.

Nothing moves the hearts of parents more than improving the transition rate. What's more, no one wants children to lag behind the era of artificial intelligence.

"New English in the 21st century"

In September 2017, Anan, a young entrepreneur, set up a programming organization, Anan programming Workshop, next to Jinzhou subway station in Nansha District, Guangzhou. Nansha District is about 56 kilometers from Zhujiang New City, the center of Guangzhou.

Anan's idea of founding children's programming began with the new generation of AI development plan released by the State Council. The plan clearly points out that it is necessary to set up relevant courses in primary and secondary schools to popularize programming education to the whole society. Anan has a hunch that programming will be a trend of future education.

At that time, Anan also worked in the Nansha Research Institute of Hong Kong University of science and technology, and established a company focusing on education and tourism. He was determined by the advantages of the school and the resources at hand.

There are now tall buildings next to the Jinzhou subway station, and not far away there is a Wanda Square, but Anan recalls that when the school was first founded, there were few people around it, and the radiation range of the school was 10 kilometers round. Unexpectedly, with the gradual increase in the number of students, even Dongguan, Foshan students came to Nansha to attend classes.

Anan found that there are a group of anxious parents behind the programming craze, and the younger the children, the more anxious they are. For example, as soon as the school opens, parents of kindergarten students ask them if they can learn programming. The parents' idea is that "everyone else is learning, and I (the child) should also learn when I was a child".

Since the introduction of physical programming, Anan has also begun to receive kindergarten students, the youngest is only 5 years old. At present, there are more than a dozen preschool children in the school. These children use building blocks and other teaching aids to drag and splice to access programming.

In the propaganda of many programming schools, programming education is called 21 st Century New English. Because the future world is the era of big data and artificial intelligence, the program is the tool of communication between human beings and AI, programming is bound to become a necessary subject as English today.

Two years after opening, the students of Anan programming workshop cover all stages from kindergarten to senior high school, accounting for 60% in primary school and below, 30% in middle school and 10% in senior high school. This is similar to the student distribution of xiaodiwang, another programming school in Zhengjia square, Guangzhou.

A number of interviewees in the industry told Southern Weekend reporters that when children are young, they learn to program more because parents want to fill their children's spare time, so they will let their children try more. When entering the middle school stage, children's academic tasks are heavy, and the purpose of learning programming is more utilitarian. Parents' focus on children's learning will change from the improvement of programming thinking and problem-solving ability to entrance and competition.

Previously, Zhejiang, Beijing, Jiangsu, Shandong and other places have proposed to bring programming into the scope of the college entrance examination, and put forward to popularize programming education in primary and secondary schools. In 2019, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Xi'an and other five first pilot cities will offer artificial intelligence and programming courses for students of grade 8.

The programming class enters the campus. Xu Jiayu, director of the scientific research department of Guangzhou Zhixin middle school, introduced robot programming education to the Southern Weekend reporter about ten years ago. Now, in addition to basic programming courses, there are also high-level elective courses in the school, which not only take care of students' interests, but also train students with spare power to participate in various competitions.

Zexin Middle School encourages interested students to take part in programming competitions because it is helpful to apply to foreign universities and cultivate scientific and technological literacy. When students in the international department of Zexin Middle School apply to foreign universities, the competition can better reflect the students' comprehensive ability.

Since 2016, students' demand for programming courses has increased, and Zhixin middle school has also increased teachers for corresponding programs.

Foshan, a children's programming school, originally mainly engaged in robot programming training. (Zhou Xiaoxi, Southern weekend intern / photo)

Looking for new shortcuts

In fact, the propaganda of educational institutions is not completely exaggerated, and the status of programming education in the education system has indeed risen.

Since 2018, the Ministry of Education has begun to standardize the competition management in the field of basic education, and the competition in compulsory education has experienced a "cleaning". In the National Competition list for Primary and Middle School students published by the Ministry of Education in 2019, a total of 31 competitions were selected, of which 15 can only be aimed at senior high school students, and none of the subject competitions for compulsory education have been selected.

Among them, the most influential one is mathematics competition. Among the "four big cup competitions" well known to parents, "Yingchun Cup", "Hua Luogeng gold cup" and "walking beauty Cup" are not included in the "white list", only "Hope Cup" is lucky to be selected. However, this competition, originally for the whole age of junior high school, can only be launched for senior high school students at present.

In an interview with the media, the staff of the organizing committee revealed that when submitting the application materials, the "Hope Cup" actually filled in the competition activities for primary and junior high school students, but it was not approved. "Hope Cup" was founded in 1990. Since 2003, it has been held in primary schools, covering more than 30 million participants nationwide.

While Olympiad fever has cooled, a number of technological innovation competitions appear on the whitelist, six of which are related to artificial intelligence and programming, and most of these competitions allow students of all ages to take part in them.

Accordingly, there are more and more grade tests for teenagers' programming ability, such as (PSTK), National Youth Software programming Grade Test, Youth programming Technology Grade Test and National Youth Robot Technology Grade examination. In August 2019, the China computer Association also launched the computer non-professional software ability certification examination.

In Anan's impression, some children were beaten by their parents for failing to pass the level one test for teenagers' programming skills.

Dad is a computer professor at a university in Nanjing and has been involved in the formulation of some children's programming industry standards. In his view, the trend towards universal programming is driven by both commercial interests and anxiety among parents that they want to find new shortcuts after the ban.

From the courses offered by several large children's programming training institutions in Guangzhou, the curriculum system is much the same-learning graphical programming in the initial stage, and then code programming, the ultimate goal is to guide students to participate in information science related competitions.

Chen Bin, the founder of orange Xuyuan, realized that it's hard for parents to pay if they only stress to exercise their thinking ability. Orange Xuyuan is an online programming training platform for teenagers. Since the end of 2018, orange Xuyuan has adjusted its strategy and clearly proposed that children's programming should be helpful for the short-term study and the long-term development.

Prior to the founding of Orange Xuyuan, Chen Bin had been in the IT industry and worked for Microsoft, Cisco. Starting in 2016, he used Scratch, a graphical programming language for children developed by MIT, to teach his third-graders how to program and found that their children were very interested. In addition, he was born in an educational family, so that he came up with the idea of developing children's programming education.

Chen Bin has made no secret of his ambition for children's programming contests. He hopes to turn Orange Xuyuan into a "Whampoa military Academy" for youth programming competitions so that children can win big awards in major competitions in the future.

But Cao Shengbiao, founder of Shenzhen's second classroom, told Southern weekend reporters that according to industry experience, only no more than 5 percent of the students who signed up for training were able to enter the national competition.

On August 23, 2018, on Fuzhou Road, near the people's Square in Huangpu District, Shanghai, a huge "children's programming" store engaged in children's education attracted special attention. (ICphoto/ photo)

Capital spawning

Although the programming competition, like Mathematical Olympiad, is a single wooden bridge competed for by thousands of troops, it still cannot stop the enthusiasm of parents and capital. Anan jokingly said that now walking on the street, the most frequent occurrence is catering, SPA and education and training.

The capital race began in 2017 and exploded rapidly in 2018. Investment and financing in the children's programming industry rose 95.8 percent in 2018 from a year earlier, reaching 2.113 billion, according to the Institute of prospective Industry Research. A total of 47 investment and financing occurred in the industry, of which more than 100 million yuan of financing reached three, a total of 550 million yuan.

It is at this time that Chen Bin feels the madness of capital. He has met with nearly 30 investment institutions in 20 days, among which 3-5 have officially sent investment intentions to orange Xuyuan. Two investment institutions happened to rush for investment on the same day, and the one who made the first investment got the investment opportunity.

According to blackboard Insight Research Institute, there are more than 200 children's programming companies in the market. It can be roughly divided into three categories: one is online pure programming institutions, mostly Internet companies; the other is offline small class teaching and training institutions, such as small code king; the most typical is the programming cat, which goes hand in hand with online and offline children's programming companies.

In the business model, the industry has basically formed the C-end, B-side grasp of the business ideas. On the one hand, the introduction of child programming courses for parents, on the other hand, for schools, educational institutions to provide courses, hardware and other services.

In just two or three years, children's programming organizations have rapidly occupied four first-tier cities in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and have continued to expand to Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan and other new first-tier and third-and fourth-tier cities. In Xiaogang's brochure, the number of flagship stores has exceeded 50, distributed in nearly 20 cities in China.

However, Zhou Zhongjun, vice president of desler technology group, thinks that among many children's programming companies at present, companies that do large-scale and rapid accumulation of capital by joining in without a firm foothold are not what they want. Desler Technology Group is a company engaged in water and indoor air quality management. In recent years, it has worked with the EMBA Chinese Alumni Foundation of City University of Hong Kong to find investment projects in the field of education.

According to a number of respondents, the fast capital makes the acquisition cost of children's programming very high. According to public reports, in the first half of 2018, the cost for online programming platform to obtain a user is about 3000 yuan. So in the start-up period, losses are the norm.

From big brands that receive financing to small institutions that are not well known, most programming schools now have joining information on their websites, but few have filed with the Ministry of Commerce.

Li Miao is one of the first franchisees of a children's programming company in Jinan, Shandong Province. In 2018, after visiting the Beijing Office of the company, Li Miao immediately decided to join.

Li Miao was impressed by the fact that the programming company accompanied people to introduce the company's business and signaled that the office was all equipped with Xiaomi office equipment and, more importantly, that the company was the children's programming company with the most financing.

In order to occupy Jinan market as soon as possible, soon after, Li Miao applied to programming company to join two new stores, hoping to pull in new partners to join. But this time, she learned that the brand she had joined had not been registered with the Ministry of Commerce for franchise, and the contract in her hand was invalid, which also became the reason why the other party refused to invest.

At present, Li Miao is in a semi closed state for fear of legal risks. In addition to the basic rent, labor cost and consumables cost, the initial advertising activities cost nearly 300000 yuan, and the loss of three stores is about 2.5 million yuan.

A number of industry insiders confirmed to Southern weekend reporters that the education industry franchises are not easy to do. Even if the brand is fully committed to providing services, 90% still rely on franchisees to operate on their own. For brand parties, the joining model allows brands to avoid heavy assets and return funds as quickly as possible, the only difficulty is in quality control.

For franchisees, the resources of high-quality children programming teachers in the industry are scarce, and there is no unified assessment standard. Southern Weekend reporter to one of the large children's programming company's head of investment to understand the joining, for teachers, the head of Southern Weekend reporter showed that the teaching plan provided by the organization can let zero basic teachers also successfully complete the teaching task.

"anyone who has worked in the education industry will not join easily." Cao Shengbiao told Southern weekend reporters that education is a highly non-standardized product that requires long chain services. Some children's programming companies, although under the banner of high technology, are actually the same as milk tea.

(at the request of the interviewers, Li Miao is a pseudonym)

Southern weekend reporter Zhou Xiaoling Southern weekend interns Xiaoxi Zhou Chen Xi.

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