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