Edtech’s new dawn

Mark Mckenna explains how education technology is starting to have a major impact on the worlds of work and school .

Education market intelligence firm HolonIQ recently released their report on global venture capital investment in education technology over the past decade – and the results make for interesting reading.

Their research shows that the 2010s were an “extraordinary decade for education technology”, with the sector receiving over $32bn in worldwide investment since the end of 2009.

Even more extraordinary is their forecast for the coming decade, which predicts that a further $87bn will be invested in edtech companies by the close of 2029. So why is the world now waking up to the value of edtech – and what could this mean for PQ’s readers?

Firstly, there is a clear drive across the world to ‘leapfrog’ existing education systems in order to drive down costs and improve access for learners. While it will come as no surprise that the US and China are set to continue to lead investment in edtech, emerging markets such as Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America are set to also expand their investment and focus on edtech to achieve greater access and reduced cost for learners.

Another key driver is population growth, with the world set to see 500 million more school students by 2025. To try to avoid placing strain on already-limited physical resources, governments and learning providers are keen to seek and invest in modern alternatives.

Combined with recent technological advances and improving global internet access, the potential for the use of technology in education is something countries and companies know they can’t afford to ignore.

However, it’s not just school-aged students that will benefit from the edtech boom. As industry advances and many job roles change – or even become obsolete – the world of work will require vast retraining programmes and edtech is likely to be a good fit for this need.

In fact, HolonIQ suggests that with less than 3% of state education budgets being spent on technology, businesses will be the first to embrace edtech in order to address growing skills gaps.

The recent coronavirus outbreak is forcing people to consider technological solutions as means to ensure continuity of work and study away from physical offices or classrooms. Although this has come about as a temporary response to an acute crisis, there is no doubt that many organisations will take note of the benefits that remote access can offer, and will continue to invest in the necessary tools to encourage this as a longer-term practice.

While the report looks at the world as a whole, the globalised nature of the world means that the impact of international investment in edtech will be very present here in the UK, where our edtech sector is developing rapidly – thanks in part to the UK’s first ever EdTech Strategy, launched in 2019.

As government, businesses and learning providers start to welcome innovative ways to train current and future generations you can expect to see much more technology used in your studies.

For more on HolonIQ and their predictions for edtech visit holoniq.com/research

• Mark Mckenna is the Founder and Managing Director at Mindful Education