I Have a Question – The 9 Education Technology Co., Ltd.

On November 7th, the Editor of CGGE went to Shanghai The 9 Education Technology Co., Ltd. in Zhang Jiang High Tech Park, interviewed its co-founder and CEO Ms Qi, and conducted a discussion on the commercial layout of the company. In addition to the identity of the co-founder and CEO of The 9 Education, Ms Qi is also a member of the Wuxi CPPCC and the Tianjin TV career reality show “only you” BOSS group members. She has a profound and forward-looking understanding of the future layout of education and students’ employment.

The interview ended quickly and the words of the general manager made us better understand The 9 Education and this developing industry. CGGE’s exclusive interview with Ms. Qi is as follows.

CGGE: Can you briefly introduce The 9 Education?

Ms Qi: In 2009, The 9 Education began to deploy the Mobile Internet Division, which is composed of five mobile game production studios. At that time, talents for production were still scarce, so the recruitment was not easy. Therefore, a training center was established. At first, this training center was not profitable, whose function was only to train and provide talents for the five studios. This situation continued until 2011 when companies near Zhang Jiang Hi-Tech Park were transforming to mobile Internet corporations. Knowing that our group has this department, they sought our help, asking us for a list of talents we have trained before. At first it was just a helping act between small-scale brother companies. However, with the gradual expansion of our scales, Zhu Jun, the CEO of our group, sensed a market supply and demand relationship between us.

So we established an education company in 2012. From 2012 to 2016, we were doing pre-employment skills training in the field of games. When we started doing this, our company was the only training institution on games at that time. Moreover, the training market at that time was not regulated enough. After all, the threshold for this industry is relatively low, but it is not easy to do well. For institutions such as The 9 Education that focuses on training in the game field, industry competition is even more daunting. In my opinion, the pre-employment training market for future vocational education will change a lot. Therefore, The 9 Education began to transform towards academic education. We first established a partnership with a Polytechnic College in Yangzhou to establish a dual-subject school. In 2017, we also reached a strategic partnership with the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts. So far, The 9 Education has laid the education foundation in both higher vocational and undergraduate levels.

CGGE: With your company’s cooperation with colleges and universities in running schools, is there a significant improvement in the professionalism of college students? What kind of cooperative relationship is this?

Ms Qi: Nowadays, common seen on the market is the cooperative mode of professional joint construction systems, which is equivalent to contract systems and contracts only the content of some courses. Both these two schools and our company are dual-subject schools, which is equivalent to two systems to jointly train students. The teaching plan of colleges and universities is mainly divided into two parts: general education and professional courses. Schools are responsible for the general education while The 9 Education is responsible for all the professional courses. Professional courses include three major parts: professional technology, professional electives and professional cores. The standard construction and implementation of education of these curriculum systems are all completed by The 9 Education. The student specialization courses are taught based on the academic standards and teaching level of The 9 Education, so we are confident in the employment of students. As we are a company with both industry genes and educational genes, it is not particularly difficult to help students find a job. In a word, schools are responsible for the early education of the students while our company is responsible for the middle and late period.

CGGE: Will The 9 Education expand the cooperation with higher education institutions in the future?

Ms Qi: I have previously introduced the school-enterprise project of The 9 Education. With the educational experience of cooperation in running schools, we understand how to standardize courses, thus storing a lot of professional curriculum resources. For example, we now have a total of four disciplines, each with its own training system and curriculum structure. For each structure, we have developed the curriculum according to the school system and standards, the results of which were originally used in our own cooperative schools. In fact, it is a pity, as the cooperative education project is a medium-run operation, subject to professional teachers, geographical location, and The 9 Education’s requirements of the education quality. Therefore, institutions and companies achieving the strategic cooperation relationship of dual-subject education have not planned much. None of the school projects of The 9 Education is for profit. For this type of project, I attach more importance to its marking meaning.

Our future plan is to expand five more cooperative colleges nationwide. At present, we have already cooperated with art schools. In the future, we may cooperate with science, engineering and comprehensive schools, which contributes to laying the educational status of The 9 Education in the discipline of digital interactive entertainment.

Of course, in addition to cooperating in running schools, we also hope to provide educational services to more institutions. Therefore, we have optimized the educational resources and divided them into application-oriented undergraduate, Polytechnic and Secondary Technical Vocational editions. Schools can select and purchase from the systematic curriculum resources we provide according to the needs of their own professional construction. In addition to this, we also provide free training for teachers of institutions that select and purchase resources. According to the result of our market pilot in Shanghai, school leaders who have come to our company to see the overall educational resources are most satisfied with them. Of course, some schools have proposed that they lack professional teachers who can use the resources we provided. For this, we will provide emergent teaching support, yet we hope that schools can improve its own strengths in professional construction.

CGGE: To guarantee the teaching quality, has The 9 Education established training standards to ensure that students can obtain teaching content of the same quality in different schools? In terms of teachers’ quality, will you introduce some technical and artistic talents on games from overseas as lecturers?

Ms Qi: We did research for a whole year in 2017, stopping all projects of incomes, so that teachers could have time to do research. After a year of research, we identified four disciplines. The reason why Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts gave us good feedback is also this. We studied and developed courses and tools for each teacher  to use in class. We allocated specific teachers for specific disciplines. For example, for a theoretical course, we will invite professors of relevant majors as they are good at learning methods.

For courses such as perspective courses, international game development history, and excellent game analysis, we will invite producers in the industry. For example, the producers of Plants vs. Zombies are one of the teachers we hire because they all have a global perspective, who can share with students the perspective they view the entire industry and students. For other professional skills related courses, we invite the first-line technical experts. We hope that students will not be temporary workers in the industry after they are employed. Instead, we hope they can thrive in the industries they like through three dimensions – the skill dimension of employment, the learning dimension of dealing with industrial development, and the industrial perspective of becoming supervisors in the future. This is why Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts is willing to cooperate and sign for a nine-year strategic partnership with us.

After the interview, Mr. Qi not only showed us around various departments of The 9  Education, but also explained to us in detail about some of the work of teachers who do not serve various functions, and showed us some courseware R & D. It made us better understand their dedication to the school-enterprise cooperation business.

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