Technology and innovation have touched every area of our lives.
Education is not exempt from this march of technology-fueled
revolution. Education Technology or edtech has brought classes and
courses from all over the world to our screens. Someone with a
smartphone and a working internet connection can easily watch
lectures delivered by Harvard or MIT professors from the comfort of
their home in Dhaka. Edtech has made education and learning more
interactive and accessible with the help of technology. Companies
like Khan Academy, Coursera, edX, Udemy, Brilliant, Skillshare, etc.
do not just earn profits for their founders and shareholders, but also
create value for millions of people all over the world.
The broad field of edtech
encompasses more than the
hardware and software
programmes used in remote
learning or online education. It also
includes theories of learning and
increasing research into the most
effective means of teaching people
new knowledge and skills. Edtech
has a unique offering, often not
found in traditional mediums
because their educators believe that
each student learns differently and
at different paces. Edtech offers an
solution to all learners.
Bangladesh has seen many startups
making big moves in the domestic
market. The edtech space is no
different. Big names like 10 Minute School, Onnorokom Pathshala
and Shikho have made huge contributions to e-learning in
Bangladesh. These platforms offer video lectures and courses on
school, college academics, competitive exams, upskilling and so
Venture Capital (VC) firms have taken interest in this sector as well.
Shikho, the first Bangladeshi edtech company to receive VC funding,
raised US$ 1.3 million from Anchorless Bangladesh and strategic
partners in late 2021. 10 Minute School raised US$ 2.0 million from
Sequoia Capital in early 2022. Thrive Edtech received US$ 180,000
in mid-2021. VC funding has always been a key for startups to grow.
The journey for an edtech company can also be intriguing. Proggo
Pratik, co-founder of Thrive Edtech, shared their journey: “I had
noticed many inefficiencies in traditional coaching centres in my time
while teaching. It is difficult to pay adequate attention to each student
in a classroom of many.”
Thrive Edtech started in a completely different industry. “We used to
digitise paper-based exams. We partnered up with some big coaching
centres to provide analytics support. We were a B2B (business-tobusiness) company back then. But with the pandemic in 2020, all
coaching centres were shut down with no restarting date in sight. So,
midway through 2020, we changed our approach. And the final result
is the Digital Coach app, which we launched in late January.”
“From a founder’s point of view, the edtech scenario in Bangladesh is
very interesting. We were the second company to raise venture
capital, but there will be many more to come very soon,” he said.
Most Bangladeshi edtech startups are still immature. Many are
working to find a product-market fit while others have recently
brought their product to the market. But even as competition gets
fierce, much of the market is still untapped. “Market size in
Bangladesh is US$ 10 billion, so many companies can thrive here as
long as they offer a good product,” Mr Pratik opined. “Many new
companies will be coming to the market, and most of them will be
looking to raise funds. The next few years will be interesting, to say
Edtech can offer a great career option for the youth of today. While the opportunity to work in a non-traditional, fast-paced and growthoriented setting attracts many young talents, there is also the
opportunity to contribute to society. The learners of today will
become the teachers of tomorrow and build the nation. The reality is
the founders are struggling to find capable employees.
According to Mr Pratik, the biggest gaps in talent are in three areas:
engineering, content, and product. “Capable engineers either opt for
remote working opportunities for foreign companies or leave the
country altogether. This makes it difficult for us to find talent in back
end development. Content is also another area where we struggle to
find talent. Making good content is essential for an edtech platform.”
Finally, product management is another role that edtechs are
struggling to fill. “Product management is still novel in Bangladesh.
Countless companies across the world, including Thrive, have
transitioned into being product-led. As more edtechs seek productmarket-fit, this area will have a lot of demand for talent in the years to
Proggo Pratik also advised young individuals willing to work in
edtech companies, not to stay confined to textbooks. “Keeping
yourself updated is very important if you want to make a difference in
Bringing innovation to education is not easy by any means. But
edtech companies and their dedicated staff have taken the challenge
and the results are becoming more and more visible with the progress
of technology and the internet.
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