“Technology In Education ” has been a hot topic in Asian startups over the past few years. However, the activities in this field were relatively slow when compared with others as education is traditionally a social product. Therefore, it usually takes longer to convince schools, especially those of government-funded to adopt a new technology.
In 2017, we believe EdTech development underpinned by a more mature ecosystem in Asia will accelerate. Currently, schools are more open to new technology, thanks to years of promoting technology startups which have been partly driven by different governments in Asian countries.
What Should Be The Focus In Asia?
In our view, it all depends on whether the regions are developed or still developing. For developed regions like Hong Kong and Singapore where smartphone ownership & internet access rate as well as GD capita is higher, EdTech startups will focus more on online courses marketplace, learning management systems and mobile learning platforms. With internet technologies, distant learning can be effectively facilitated while interactions between teachers and students are enhanced.
On the contrary, we believe that developing regions with lower smartphone ownership and internet penetration as well as higher GD capita, products that can facilitate in-classroom learning will become more popular in 2017. Products like video-based learning devices which allow large scale learning or gamification applications which improve in-classroom learning experience are some good examples. Not only it is easier to introduce such technology into the developing countries like India and Indonesia in particular, but also it is fair and affordable for those students from low-income families.
Will More Coding Schools Be Well Positioned ?
The importance of coding skill was much emphasised in Asia in 2016 and the key question is whether the government should make computer programming and embed coding in the curriculum for primary schools? In relation to this, Japan has already decided to make computer programming a compulsory subject starting with the primary schools in 2020. The Japanese government has constituted panels to decide on the programming syllabus and incorporated the matter in its growth strategy agenda. We do expect more countries to follow suit in 2 or 3 years’ time.
Thanks to this coding school, a business model that is well-positioned for success in our digital world today. In our view, these coding schools are going to benefit the kids, regardless of how fast or slow computer programming is made a mandatory subject in schools. If governments do not make coding education mandatory, these coding schools can remain as private institutions that provide an essential skill for life. Should programming become a compulsory subject, these coding schools could potentially turn into tutorial centres providing after-school tutorial classes for students wishing to improve their programming skills. We believe there will be more coding schools in Asia, covering different age groups, ranging from K-12, university students to professionals. However, we see the highest potentials coming from those focusing on K-12 education strategy.
Until now, stay tuned and we will showcase some upcoming and interesting education related startups soon.