Tue, 08 August 2023
A few weeks ago, I chanced upon a very interesting TED talk by the founder of the EdTech giant Khan Academy. It talked about how AI in education, in a format we currently know it, is just the tip of the iceberg. AI can help students learn better, can respond to actual problems and even nurture students’ learning process and ability to think.
What makes this even more interesting is the fact that AI itself is simply a part of the EdTech ecosystem. The global edtech market size was valued at USD255 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD605 billion by 2027. The market today covers content development, virtual worlds, adaptive learning, corporate learning, smart classrooms, and a host of other micro learning systems.
Smart classrooms are propelling demand with the use of animations, multimedia, audio, video, graphics, educational content, smart interactive whiteboards and more. Educational software tools such as IXL, Teach Your Monster to Read, TT rockstars etc. are used as part of classroom curriculum in modern teaching systems and intuitively engage with students based on their abilities.
The edtech market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is expected to reach USD7 billion by 2027, as schools across the region adopt technology solutions and products in classrooms. This growth is being driven by the increasing demand for accessible learning, which is being met by digital technologies like AI, VR, blockchain, and IoT. These technologies are improving the learning process for both learners and teachers by making learning more personalised, immersive, secure, and data-driven.
International edtech companies are rapidly entering the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. For example, Cuemath, a Google education partner, recently entered the region with its math learning platform that provides videos, concept sheets, puzzle cards, and simulations. Other Indian edtech startups, such as Kidsbuddy and Brightchamps, have also announced plans to enter the MEA region. The acquisition of UAE’s Knowledge Planet by Indian edtech unicorn Physics Wallah is another sign of the growing potential of the MEA edtech market.
In addition to the traditional education market, there is also a large and growing market for corporate learning in the MEA region. The worldwide spending on corporate learning is estimated to be around USD320 billion, and the MEA region is expected to see significant growth in this area. Companies in the MEA region are increasingly looking for new tools and delivery systems to support their onboarding, sales training, leadership development, and compliance programmes.
Bahrain and the GCC are abuzz with EdTech developments. In March, the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) announced the launch of its metaverse campus, which intends to provide students and professionals in business and finance with an immersive learning experience supported by the latest technology. The Nasser Vocational Training Centre also announced its Smart Coders initiative, which aims to train approximately 2,000 adults annually to write computer code. By 2027 the initiative is expected to train a total of 10,000 Bahrainis to enter the workforce as programmers.
New entrant Lumofy, which provides personalised learning to corporates recently raised USD500,000 from Hope Ventures, together with Saudi angel Investors and JEO Capital. Local incubator Kickstart has also launched a programme to assist EdTech entrepreneurs by providing comprehensive training through hybrid platforms. Using technology, mentors will be able to teach, provide videos and interact with founders seamlessly to provide a diverse learning experience and enable them to realistically launch or expand. Bahrain based regional player Playbook uses a digital platform to connect female learners with specialised mentorship and learning systems. And these are just a few examples of the many EdTech developments happening in Bahrain and the GCC.
With the expansion of universities, video-based learning systems and international collaboration, education is taking on a new shape in the region. The scope of expansion seems almost unlimited in a region with a young, growing school population combined with an expanding corporate environment. Education is a traditionally brick and mortar basic industry; however, today, there is nothing basic about the offerings and I suspect, in a few years, I may be writing about a whole new education ecosystem. Time will tell, but the indicators are very promising.
Pria is the Founder of GMI Advisory WLL– a Management Consultancy that helps companies with their strategy, business plans, presentations and preparing for investors . You can visit her company website gmiadvisory.com to connect with her. Follow @guide¬_my_idea on Instagram for more.