Transforming Education in Thailand through the Use of Technology
Experts have suggested that instead of transforming the existing education system, Thailand should disrupt it by creating an education innovation ecosystem pushed by technology created by EdTech start-ups.
Edtech whilst relatively new, is considered to be a disruptive technology. A disruptive technology is one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry.
In line with the Thai Government’s goal to establish Thailand as a Smart Nation by 2020, they have decided to invest more in Thai Edtech start-up so as to revolutionise the Thai education system, making it more modern. Implementing more Edtech initiatives in the educational landscape also allows for a more effective and efficient way of reaching out to Thai students and getting them more engaged. The main goal of the Thai government with regards to Edtech is to ensure that the Thai educational system improve in quality.
Edtech is absolutely essential to the Thai educational climate as almost all the bigger schools and universities are located in the centre of Bangkok. Edtech aims to decentralise education and give students in remote areas the same access to quality education as those living in the bigger cities.
Thailand Startup Ecosystem has experienced exponential growth within the last few years. From 1 million US dollars in funding in 2011 up to 100 million in 2016. International Investors have been showing more interest in the Thai start-up ecosystem. The Thai government itself is now very supportive of the ecosystem, announcing the launch of a 570 million dollars in venture funding.
There is a huge demand for the digital skills. Statistics has shown more than 147% mobile penetration rate. By 2020, more than 25 million mobile users are expected in Thailand. With such a high level of funding and demand for technical skills, the Edtech start-ups looking to heighten digital literacy would not only have a lot demand, but it would also bring Thailand closer to its goal of being a Smart Nation.
In order for Edtech start-ups to have longevity amidst a volatile and turbulent environment, they must overcome the many challenges that they are and will continue to face. This includes affordability. Edtech companies aim to have a big market penetration rate and make a profit at the same time. However, they have to ensure that their target customers who are the schools in the more rural areas, are able to afford their products. Since the schools in the City already have access to different, advanced technology, the ones that are most in need of the products from the tech start-ups are the relatively less well-to-do schools in the rural areas.
Another challenge that tech start-ups face is that they have to ensure that the products that they create are simple. The products are meant for students who have not been exposed to technology much. The User Interface (UI) of these products therefore have to be simple enough for them to adopt and integrate into their education quickly.
They also have to ensure that they market themselves properly. They have to be sure that the way they market the technology and scale the platform has to show that they are in a sense better than the existing educational supplements like private tuitions, private courses and other assessment books.
While still in its infancy stages, Edtech is an area with great potential within the ever transforming digital landscapes of Thailand.
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