You’ll often hear adults quip “children are the future” as they applaud a child leading a discussion on climate change, before going back to their single-use plastic bags and straws. The global education expenditure market is currently valued at over $5 trillion USD and rising each year–set to reach $10 trillion by 2030, reflects this belief. Despite being more substantial than the media, entertainment industry and the software market, only 2% of education is digitised. Occasionally, companies emerge, aiming to equip children to be the leaders of tomorrow. In 2018, 197 companies developing artificial intelligence (A.I.)-based education technology around the world received $2.9 billion USD to further their progress. Among those are several EdTech startups in Southeast Asia designed to overcome barriers to education and equip students for success from preschool to university. In this article, we’ll discuss several emerging EdTech trends and startups in Southeast Asia blazing the trail. 

Getting ahead–starting in preschool

When a child starts school, their love of learning can be diminished by large class sizes, lack of individual attention, and teaching styles contrary to their best learning style. With nearly one million interactive exercises designed by educational experts, children using Taamkru are set up for success and a love for learning before their first day in a classroom. Aimed at preschool children, Taamkru is involving parents in their child’s education and making learning fun. Based on a sample of 34,000 students, Taamkru reports a 26.8% improvement in scores after 15 days of app use. Taamkru translates to “ask the teacher” in Thai, setting a strong foundation that can be built upon once they are in the classroom. 

Use A.I. to individualise education

Practicle Co-Founder Eileen Choo

In large classrooms, lack of time and resources make it impossible for teachers to track each student’s learning process to determine individual difficulties. Through a series of math problems, Singapore-based Practicle uses A.I. and data analytics to analyse weaknesses, track progress, and create a study plan individualised for each student. In an interview with Practicle’s co-founder, Eileen Choo explained, 

“Digitization, data analytics and A.I. have been disrupting many industries, but education remains relatively untouched today, even though its impact could well be the furthest reaching. When it comes to education, there is a lot of data to be collected and used for the good of students, but it seems we are not doing enough of it.”

Individualised education improves skill mastery and increases confidence in students.

Connect students with teachers and online study partners

Once students leave the classroom for the day, it’s time for homework and self-study. But what happens if parents are unable to help with homework or if a child cannot remember how to complete an assignment? Ruangguru is the largest EdTech company in Indonesia, trusted by more than 15 million students and 300,000 teachers. The subscription-based service connects students and tutors for live teaching, homework help, and a range of animated videos–all accessible by cell phone or computer. 

Parents can stay informed with regular report cards delivered to them directly, and A.I. recommends programs based on areas where the student needs improvement. Ruangguru makes learning fun as students trade points for digital prizes and connect with fellow students online to study together. 

Give schools direct access to cutting edge resources

Many of the EdTech startups in Southeast Asia work on a B2C model- selling directly to the student or parent. However, XSeed Singapore is setting trends by utilising a B2B model–selling lesson plans and curriculum for teachers and learning apps for students directly to schools.

XSeed’s mission is to “transform education globally, from rote to learning from ‘telling’ to teaching.” The school’s curriculum is consistently updated, and leaders at the schools using XSEED have access to an experienced educational coach for regular teacher training. 

Combine online and offline classes for maximum results 

Technology alone cannot replace in-person learning. Yola bridges the gap between traditional classroom learning and education technology in Vietnam. Their online-to-offline blended approach teaches English basics online, followed by in-person classes at training centres in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Their qualified and inspiring educators teach English language development and problem-solving skills to students as young as four years old. Adult classes are also available, tailored to the specific goals of the student–from English for travel or work, to test preparation. 

Work towards career goals with an online advisor 

Sometimes, all you need to discover the career of your dreams is a nudge in the right direction. EduAdvisor in Malaysia is a free website with access to counsellors who will point you in the right direction of study. Students can take quizzes to determine their aptitude for careers within business, law, medicine, and other fields. The website also makes recommendations on where to study in Malaysia, offering comparisons, application support, and help in finding scholarships. 

Whether you’re the parent of a preschooler, a teenager considering their university options or an adult hoping to improve your English proficiency, these emerging EdTech trends have the potential to change your life.