Chinese Minister of Education
Jason Jixuan Hu: Presentation to Minister Chen Zhili
and the Delegation of Ministry of Education, People’s Republic of China
Respectfully Minister Chen,
Respectfully Vice Governor Wang,
Dear members of the delegation,
We are very much honored to have this opportunity to welcome you to the headquarters of Apollo Group, Inc., University of Phoenix, Inc., and Apollo International, Inc. We appreciate so much of this meeting that Dr. John Sperling has rescheduled his international travel plan, and myself flew back from China. We are happy to have you here.
Today I’m speaking on double identities. I am the person in charge of Apollo’s initiative of investing into China education market to promote advanced education/training with Apollo business models; and also, I am an oversea Chinese individual who is making efforts to increase exchanges and mutual understandings between U.S. and China, and therefore to benefit both countries.
Respectfully Minister Chen, I want to present to you two points, and I’ll have three suggestions.
Dr. Slobodzian just introduced to you part of our successful experiences. Actually, that is not the most important part of Apollo Experience. We presented that part to you because the Chinese consulate general informed us that you would like first to know about our distance learning programs.
There are three major types of education in this world today. The first is education as charity. The second is education as state/social welfare. The third, a relatively new type, is education as business -- job-market-oriented, market-driven, self-sustainable business. This type is growing fast in the U.S., and will inevitably emerge in China
The most important value of Apollo, the most useful part to China, is neither the distance learning technology we just introduced, nor capital investment that Apollo International is preparing to commit, but the unique management system of doing education in a corporate structure, invented by Dr. John Sperling and developed through Apollo’s more than 20 years of experience.
That was my first point. You cannot get Apollo Experience from Harvard, MIT, or anybody else. You are the first Chinese Minister of Education who visited Apollo in history. By physically visiting us here, Respectfully Minister Chen, you are holding the key to discover this invaluable intellectual property. That’s why we are all excited – because of your attention to us, we might have a good chance to contribute to the education of one fourth of the world’s population.
My second point is about the much heated debate in China regarding to whether China’s education can be “industrialized”- be done in a for-profit way. In the situation when both the pro side and con side all have more than enough reasons and solid arguments, we need innovative thinking, we need to learn from the existing successful models, and from practice.
Traditional education systems are undergone tremendous change. Three major functions of education -- historical knowledge inheritance, learning to learn to face the future, and preparation to enter job market – have been diversifying educational institutions into different types. Among the three functions, the function of preparing the students to be ready for the job market, is more and more effectively done in a market-driven way. I have enclosed in the folder in front of you a more detailed interview article, done by the Journal of New Economy recently, about this viewpoint.
Respectfully Minister Chen, at least one of three functions of education, job-market preparation, can be done, better being done, and even have to be done, in a for-profit way. Apollo Experience has proved that successfully. More than 20 years ago, the gentleman sitting besides you, Respectfully Minister Chen, started exploring a new way to do education, with one small whiteboard, one rented room, and 8 students. Today, Apollo’s market value is more than 3 billion dollars. More than 100,000 students in our 130+ campuses are receiving high quality education. What Dr. John Sperling has done so far, Minister Chen, you can help make it happen in China.
“The stone from another mountain can be used to process our jade.” Apollo Experience consists of down-to-earth, systematic operational management methods. We are expecting opportunities of substantial cooperation with China’s educational institutions. We are hoping the members of this delegation could help the success of our China Initiative. Here I have three specific suggestions for you to consider, in the order from difficult to easy:
1- Consider establishing Special Zone of Education to allow solely owned foreign schools, allow multiple campuses of one school in different locations, allow for-profit education. Test all the possible alternatives to see which works. Let the black and white cats all try to catch the mouse. The best cat here, will be the self-sustainability, high quality, satisfactory of the people, and the actual needs of job market being met.
2- Consider exploring Apollo Experience as a test project, put into a certain amount of resources to closely cooperate with us so that after 20 years, or in a much shorter time, that China could have its own Apollo.
3- Consider holding an international conference to thoroughly discuss the issues of for-profit education and the globalization of education resources.
We would be more than happy to actively participate in any one of or all of these three possibilities.
Thank you very much and I wish you a pleasant and fruitful trip.