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China’s Ministry of Education asked schools to prolong the Lunar New Year break because of the coronavirus. (Picture: Shutterstock)

China’s YouTube offers classes at home because of Wuhan coronavirus

The Wuhan coronavirus is closing schools, so online education companies are getting their chance

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

Schools in China are postponing spring semester classes due to the recent outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus, so online education providers are getting a chance to show what they have to offer.

Alibaba's Youku, China’s answer to YouTube, announced on Monday that it will launch online classes for primary and secondary school students. The classes will be free with the help of another Alibaba product called DingTalk, an office communication tool similar to Slack. State media has reported that nearly 50 primary and secondary schools in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, have joined the program.

(Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba.)

Other companies are making similar moves. The largest private education provider in China, New Oriental Group, is offering 1 million free online classes to school kids while K12 edtech unicorn Squirrel AI is  canceling in-person classes and switching to online. Online education company iTutor also decided to offer its online teaching platform for free. Since the start of the deadly virus outbreak, which has taken more than 100 lives, tech companies including Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and Meituan, among many others, have donated funds, medical supplies and other contributions.
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