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As we go back to school, we look at who is teaching the teachers, the students that are becoming EdTech founders as well as comparing Q1 and Q2 performance in the sector. The report aims to provide you with a bite-sized summary of what is happening in the world of learning and training. 

XPurpleNow and Next
The key trends impacting education and training today

X100RedGlobal All Stars
Learn how innovators of today are shaping the EdTech of tomorrow

XGold100Market Roundup
A global snapshot of the EdTech market

X100GreenM&A Highlights
Summary on mergers, acquisitions and fundraising

X100Teal-04Valuation Benchmarks
Global trends and innovation across the sector





The key trends impacting education and training today

Who is Teaching the Teachers?

Dire predictions abound for the acute shortage of teachers that we will face in the years to come. Well publicised data from UNESCO has stated that by 2030, 25.8 million teachers will need to have been recruited to provide every child with primary education. One thing we can pretty much know for certain, it is not going to happen.

Where does that leave us? In our view the answer lies in improving the quality and effectiveness of the teachers we do have. This may sound like tinkering around the edges but in emerging markets, where teacher demand is the greatest, the approach is highly relevant. The World Bank arranged surprise visits to classrooms across seven sub-Saharan African countries and found that in nearly half of them, the teacher was absent. Where there are teachers, their subject knowledge is strikingly low. Approximately a quarter of teachers fail simple tasks such as subtracting two-digit numbers amongst maths teachers.

The challenge is how to teach the teachers and provide them with the resources to be effective. In a world where government budgets are constrained, the ability to expand the number of teachers and their training is limited. Here there is a role for technology, not as a replacement but in a support. For example, this year’s winner of the EdTechX Ecosystem event in Cape Town, South Africa was Paper Video, which provides step-by-step video support linked to curriculum coursework. The videos can be streamed or downloaded for use in areas where there’s no service coverage. As Chris Mills, co-founder of Paper Video said “Imagine how powerful it would be if the exact video that a student needed was embedded in the context in which they were already learning…at every point they could possibly get stuck!”

There are also models of direct assistance such as those of Tusome in Kenya, which provides teachers and administrators with pedagogical skills in critical areas of reading instruction. They have already helped train every lower primary school teacher in 24,136 schools in Kenya!

This is no mean achievement, but the interesting part is that they are collecting real-time learner performance data. This data provides huge insight into what is working and where. But it also provides accountability and so helps address issues such as absenteeism.

The challenges of teachers and technology is not just an issue for emerging markets, but also for developed markets. The increasing adoption of technology in the classroom leads to a need for appropriate CPD training support. Earlier this year the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) results for 2018 were released. One of the biggest demands from teachers in the OECD was for ICT skills for teaching. Between 2013 and 2018, Finland, Iceland and Sweden are among the countries showing the highest increase in the share of teachers using digital technologies to support student learning. Not unsurprisingly the same countries displayed the highest increase in teachers participating in ICT training. So to state the obvious, if you are not able to train the teachers it is difficult to introduce technology effectively into the classroom.

Our call is for governments and innovators to respond to this teacher training need. We live in a world where currently the student enters the classroom with more knowledge about tech than the person who is about to teach them. Unless we can teach the teachers to become masters of this new tech universe, there is little hope that we can educate the planet...


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 Learn how innovators of today are shaping the edtech of tomorrow.

The Student becomes the Founder

As students head back to university there will be some to use the time, not in lecture halls, but to start their new company. It is no surprise that college dorm rooms spark innovation, we only need to look at the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs to realise it. However, is there something to be said for the educational environment to spark edtech innovation specifically?

Many edtech startups are inspired by their immediate surroundings. StudySmarter, the winner of EdTechX Super League, began as the founders realised thousands of students were dropping out or failing exams due to lacking structure, efficiency and information overload. Their solution now reaches over 350 universities covering almost  2000 courses. Other examples include Oxford Medical Simulation and Rescue VR. Both solutions train healthcare professionals and were creates while the founders were still studying medicine.

Musemio, named UCL’s most promising startup for 2019, was created while co-founder Kaitlin Fritz studied a Masters in Art History. With the support of UCL’s buzzing entrepreneurial hub, incubator, EDUCATE and summer courses, many startups like them have been able to form. In fact, in the last 10 years, 70% of licenses issued by universities have been for startups and small enterprises. It can be argued that there is little risk for universities to support startups. Bringing the opportunity to build alumni support and grow into local economies can strongly outweigh the risk.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise the there are now many widely available resources for students to tap in to. Likewise, there is also a smaller risk for the student to set up their company while still in education. Zhilin Wang, who founded LearnAh while at Cambridge University, highlighted that the venture carries less risk while being a student as opposed to doing it full time, with particular mention to lack of work salary lost. Moreover, the wealth of free expertise and experience accessible from faculty members often brings further support to the students. 

While many turn to organisations with the university to support their endeavours, there are still many who opt out of higher education entirely, attempting to make their mark in the tech ecosystem and create their own company. In a national survey of 16-19 year olds in the US, 42% expect to work for themselves, with or without a college degree. This is four times higher than the actual percentage of those self-employed in America. 

With the future workplace becoming more reliant on those rapidly learning new skills, and the EdTech sector continuing to grow, these entrepreneurs can go either bring new innovation specifically to the edtech sector or to bring this skill set to the new world of work.





A global snapshot of the edtech market

Market Roundup Logos
Pre K12 & K12 header3

investmentNewSchools announces up to $8 million in funding for pre K-12 education innovators and entrepreneurs
This funding is aimed at two of the non-profit’s investment areas: Innovative Public Schools and Diverse Leaders. Source: PR Newswire [3 min read]

emerging marketsEducation company Adtalem puts Brazil assets on the block
The for-profit school chain has put its assets in Brazil up for sale, including flagship university Ibmec. Source: Reuters [2 min read]

investmentUS EdTech funding already nears $1 Billion for first half of 2019
The US education technology industry appears to be on track for record funding in 2019. Source EdSurge [5 min read]

higher education v3

emerging marketsUniversidad Kuepa, an innovative Mexico-based online university, receives US$1 million investment from Adobe Capital
The university will look to grow its student base in Mexico, the fifth largest education market in the world. Source: PR Newswire [2 min read] 

Policy"No Deal Brexit" adds uncertainty to higher education in the UK
Some universities may find their financial situation severely affected if European funding is no longer accessible. Source: Inside Higher Ed [5 min read]

Study Trends LogoBootcamp business up 49% year-over-year
This year's coding bootcamps are expected to graduate more than 23,000 developers. Source: Campus Technology [3 min read]

Corporate Training v2

robotEdTech earnings roundup: How 2U, Chegg, Instructure and Pluralsight Fared in Q2 2019
Insight into the tech giants’ past performance and future plans. Source: EdSurge [4 min read]

workforceOnline learning combined with games to grow by 38% in 2-4 years
The combination method is gaining momentum with corporates trying to enhance the skills of their workforce. Source: The Economic Times [3 min read]

robotCEIPAL study concludes artificial intelligence is the future of recruitment
82% of survey respondents believe AI is the #1 most transformatative technical innovation in the staffing/recruiting industry. Source: Cision PRWeb [3 min read]

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Global trends and innovation across the sector

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While 2019 had an explosive start, with over $20bn in deals occurring in Q1, Q2 has been relatively unimpressive in comparison.
Over 62% of Q2 2019’s deal value involved EdTech acquisitions. Notable EdTech deals for the quarter include 2U’s acquisition of Trilogy Education Services for $750m and Arco Platform’s acquisition of the Brazil-based Sistema Positivo de Ensino for c.$415m.
Just over half of Q2 2019’s M&A activity involved small businesses and the majority of buyers were strategic. This is in line with Q1 and what we have seen historically. The Asia/Pacific, Africa/Middle East and Latin America and Caribbean regions have commanded a greater share of transaction volume in the second quarter, with United States and Canada seeing a decline in transaction volume. Human Capital businesses have also seen more activity – this is in line with current trends in the industry as employee training and upskilling become a priority for businesses.
2019 is still set to be a strong year for the education industry based on the first half’s performance – we will be keeping a close eye on activity during the second half to see who, or what, makes headlines.

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Summary on mergers, acquisitions and fundraising

EduCare New

1 Deals sourced from Capital IQ and Mergermarket

Significant Fundraising Activity
Code Combat Crimson
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