Before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the global education industry was already facing various challenges, including limited educational infrastructure, a shortage of qualified educators, low public spending on education and high drop-out rates, especially in less developed economies.
The pandemic has exacerbated these issues, as over 190 countries have faced partial or full school closures due to imposed lockdown measures, affecting over 1.5 billion students globally, according to UNESCO. A deepening global learning crisis and heightened uncertainty about the future are expected to promote the adoption of digital technologies as well as encourage upskilling and reskilling of the workforce.
COVID-19 to accelerate digital transformation in education
Digital learning has emerged and evolved quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Education technology companies have witnessed a surge in demand due to a massive shift to online learning. Digital learning management systems, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platforms and other distance learning solutions have helped parents and teachers to facilitate student learning during school closures. As a result, investor sentiment regarding the edtech market is extremely positive.
For instance, in March 2020 a Beijing-based K-12 online education platform Yuanfudao secured USD1 billion in a Series G funding led by private equity firm Hillhouse Capital Group and Tencent Holdings, setting the record for the largest fundraising deal in the Chinese education market. The company runs six apps within its ecosystem and has around 400 million users already.
More online programmes from top-level universities
At the same time, the COVID-19-induced economic crisis and global travel restrictions have created challenges for international students. This may result in significant revenue shortfalls in schools, which rely heavily on tuition fees collected from foreign students. For instance, international students account for roughly 20% of all higher education students in countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom.
In order to address the issues, many education institutions, including Harvard University and Cambridge University, have decided to deliver their courses remotely at least throughout the 2020-2021 academic year and are planning to offer more study programmes that are fully online in the upcoming years.
As a result, educators, especially in....................................................................................................
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