Technology is rapidly changing the way people learn, especially in Southeast Asia. With affordable internet access, a growing mobile penetration rate, and pervasive values regarding education, edtech startups in Southeast Asia are experiencing massive growth. From virtual classrooms and lessons, to discovery platforms featuring information about tertiary education decisions, edtech in Malaysia reflects the strong need and desire for accessible education and educational opportunities. We discuss four exciting edtech startups that aim to meet those needs and see what they have to offer.
A discovery and comparison platform, EduAdvisor offers online guides to educational resources. The platform provides useful tools to compare colleges and educational courses worldwide, as well as recommendations and counselling. Not only does the startup feature information about colleges, but it also provides guides about international pre-university educational programmes. With a large number of guides containing details of different subject matter and subsequent employability, EduAdvisor breaks down education jargon into reader-friendly content to help students make informed decisions about their college education. EduAdvisor aims to make education accessible on multiple fronts with a regularly updated list of Malaysian higher education scholarships. It is free for users and generates revenue from referral fees and ads. The company has also received venture capital funding from the KK Fund and 500 Startups, according to US-based data provider Pitchbook.
Since 2012, FrogAsia has been working to break down barriers to education and increase accessibility and efficiency through technology using a cloud-based learning platform. Through the 1BestariNet project, the Frog Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is available to 10,000 schools throughout Malaysia. For teachers, the Frog VLE platform provides a space to create mixed media lessons, upload and transfer files, facilitate student discussions, and collaborate lesson-planning with other teachers. Students have access to an intuitive interface with a customisable dashboard, a bookshelf with flippable ebooks, and easily accessible lessons. Schools and administrators are also provided tools to manage extra-curricular activities, clubs, and create collaborative spaces for member contribution and school competitions. FrogAsia is a company from YTL Corporation Malaysia, but it has expanded far beyond its home country. The VLE is utilised across 23 countries, in over 12,000 schools, with more than 20 million student, teacher, or administrator users.
EasyUni is an exciting edtech startup based in Kuala Lumpur providing an international discovery platform of colleges and universities worldwide. The company’s interface is easy to navigate, according to course types, subjects, and countries. EasyUni covers the education systems and general programme details of 16 different countries and provides a comprehensive look at the benefits of studying abroad in each particular country. It also includes information about respective top universities and visa requirements. It offers subject guides to significant fields of study, detailing its benefits, requirements, necessary skills, and employment opportunities beyond education. Launched in 2010, the startup’s university database may be the most impressive in scope with over 3,000 universities and colleges across 25 countries. The platform features informational content about these universities, their available programmes and world rankings, student reviews, faculty achievements, campus photos, demographics, and estimated cost of living. EasyUni also provides forum spaces for users to discuss topics ranging from studying techniques to adjusting to new cultures through education.
UniDigest is a free course comparison platform based out of Kuala Lumpur. Launched in 2015, UniDigest provides useful information regarding fee structures, courses, scholarships, and general information about universities. It helps students choose the most suitable tertiary education path for themselves. In competition with the more established EasyUni, they also offer cost-free education counselling sessions, and feature comparison tools for pre-university, foundation, diploma, and degree courses across Malaysia. UniDigest works to personalise recommendations based on each student’s subject interests, results, and financial considerations. The UniDigest Blog regularly publishes articles to support students through their educational decisions with tips to choosing the right college and reviews of universities and their programmes. The blog also features information regarding student lifestyle experiences at different colleges.
These edtech startups in Malaysia are committed to connecting students and teachers with relevant educational resources. The accessibility that edtech offers is reshaping the landscape of education, allowing greater opportunities for quality education and subsequent employability to more people. They are expanding the world by connecting the world through education. Without strong ties to legacy traditions and institutions, Southeast Asia is unbridled and ready for major edtech advances.