Thursday, September 07, 2006

New Oriental 新东方 IPO, Take Two

Of course, New Oriental sells dreams along with solid English teaching to children, college students, and young professionals. One of the major dreams that New Oriental peddles is chuguo 出国 or “leaving the country”, usually for New Zealand or Australia. Indeed, English education has this as one of its primary goals (and the ultimate endpoint, improving the self, making money, and becoming successful, is still achieved with chuguo). Many students, including one of my friends from 2000, swallow this dream whole and take classes, buy supplies, and pay tuition to New Oriental to achieve the dream. My friend from 2000 indeed did make it to New Zealand, although instead of a rigorous overseas education, he found a party-like atmosphere where rich children from China went to sow their oats.

A coin has two sides and education is a commodity, as difficult as it is to make teaching, learning, testing, and studying into a thing, much less a product or commodity. But that’s my two cents.

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