The Growing Demand For Ed-Tech During Coronavirus Lockdown
The global spreading of the coronavirus (Covid-19) has required drastic regulations in an effort to contain it. One of the first compulsory measures taken by affected countries has been the closure of all schools.
The sudden adjustments of educational processes and altered dynamics between all involved parties—schools, teachers, students and parents—are challenging familiar routines and threatening crucial public objectives. Accordingly, the World Bank has commissioned its ed-tech expertise team to support policymakers worldwide in facilitating the continuation of basic education by adapting to modern technologies.
Ed-tech is essential and not just a luxury of the future
Ed-tech's practical value has hence rapidly improved from its pre-pandemic standing. Previously considered an option for quality education and a supplement to traditional schooling systems, it is now essential for preserving a progressing society.
Institutions previously working with digitalised education platforms have already benefitted during the Covid-19 crisis from their contemporary approach. These schools smoothly mastered the sudden transition to homeschooling, easing the adjustment process for students and parents. Their early investment in equipment and software and in coaching of educational staff has allowed them to continue their operations with minimal interruption.
Ed-tech is profitable and delivers crucial social benefits
Investors have long identified the windows of opportunity offered by technology in the classrooms.
However, its recent unprecedented expansion highlights even more its sustainable profitability. "So far only 2 to 3 percent of the US$5 trillion spent globally on education is digital," says Credit Suisse's Dr Kirill Pyshkin. "This, combined with ed-tech's sudden vital role during COVID-19 and the significant differences seen up to now in its geographical investments, intensify the previously unseized global growth opportunities."
Furthermore, Dr Pyshkin stresses how investing in ed-tech has a powerful positive socio-economic impact that supports the UN's fourth Sustainable Development goal: "Because education is directly linked to the global reduction of poverty and to the prevention of children exploitation, ed-tech plays an important role in society by improving access to education even in the most remote places."
Ed-tech will continue revolutionising learning
Ed-tech will keep growing as one of the fastest sectors in digital transformation. Its ability to collect and harness big data brings further innovation potential to improve the technology while benefitting students.
For example, skeptics of digital education are concerned about the limited social interaction it offers. A life in isolation can be detrimental, and education should help students develop soft skills such as creativity and empathy. As a response, newer digital applications now broaden the social educational spectrum by recreating the classroom experience virtually, allowing group learning, team breakout sessions, and online project collaboration.
"Ed-tech is developing, disrupting and being adopted so fast in current times that it could change the education landscape forever," says Joanna Tasker, expert on education for Tech London Advocates.
Ed-tech is expected to keep the momentum after COVID-19
Globalisation will keep bringing new opportunities and challenges to humans—conditions in which ed-tech has strongly thrived and offered solutions to complex situations. Hence, experts agree that this sector's importance during Covid-19 foretells its fundamental integration into most learning forms in the near future.
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Credit Suisse is Gen.T's partner for the Social Impact Awards. Download Credit Suisse's report, Education Technology. Coronavirus And Beyond.