Reimagining Education in a Digital Age from Australia

By David Linke, Managing Director, EduGrowth

David Linke, Managing Director, EduGrowth

Australia has a high quality, high reputation and globally regarded education sector that impacts learners across the world. Whether those learners are in our schools and tertiary institutions or accessing Australian education through digital services, we as a country are making a global impact on the next generation.

But we have some challenges and the EdTech ecosystem has a place to play in this picture.

Globally learners are choosing to complete ever increasing portions of their studies through online delivery. This global trend of education moving to borderless digital delivery is arguably only in the early stages. Many commentators consider the education sector yet to be significantly disrupted in the same way that many other sectors have been - we are yet to see a Netflix, or AirBNB or UBER in education. But, the volume of venture capital and private equity moving into EdTech markets is but one measure of the perceived opportunity coming from this yet to appear disruption.

Australia is well placed to capitalise on the borderless digital education revolution. Our high quality education institutions and globally recognised qualifications framework can be combined with our innovation sector, our capital markets and our natural business patterns of looking beyond our borders to international markets for commercial growth.

Geographically, Australia is located within the largest and fastest growing region in the world. Asia represents more than 60% of the world’s population. When we consider the emerging middle-class around the world, then the numbers across Asia become an even more compelling story about the next generation of learners looking for economic and social change through education.

As a nation Australia has long connected it’s economy to Asia. We understand that Asia isn’t just one or two large dominant countries. We recognise the opportunity of the smaller markets that some of our global competitors consider secondary. Governments at all levels, are acutely aware of the need to support the education sector to move beyond traditional face-to-face teaching and into education technology.

The combination of high quality education, global recognition, digital disruption, government action and geographic advantage all points to a great strategic advantage for Australian EdTech companies. But capitalising on that opportunity isn’t without work to be done.

In partnership with global education thought leaders, Navitas Ventures, we recently delivered EdTech roundtables launching from their published Project Ecosystem. Together we identified key characteristics of a successful EdTech city - a connected ecosystem, density of activity for companies regardless of maturity level, pathways to capital markets, a champion coordinating EdTech sector development, government support for EdTech companies and maximising test bed opportunities.

EduGrowth is Australia’s education technology and innovation hub. Through connection and collaboration we accelerate Australia’s EdTech ecosystem globally. We are connecting a community of education providers, industry participants and EdTech entrepreneurs committed to reimagining learning in the digital age.

Australia can claim many global education sector leaders already. Organisations like Moodle, Navitas, and 3P Learning, amongst others, are global brand names supporting learners today.

Whilst the next wave of Australian EdTech companies are well established and emerging globally. Over the coming years we will see companies such as Open Learning, Xplor, Smart Sparrow, Practera, Tali Health, Vygo, BrightPath, DeakinCo and Pivot Professional Learning impact even greater numbers of learners regardless of geography.

As education transitions to borderless digital delivery, Australia’s diverse ecosystem will impact the future of learning globally.

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