Is LATAM The New EdTech ‘El Dorado’?
By: Gabriela Zedán
In this blog, we dive into the EdTech industry in LATAM and the different trends that are shaping the region. We look at potential opportunities as well as areas of improvement to grow and evolve the digital learning space. We consider the potential origins of the disparity between countries leading the e-learning movement (US, China, and India) vs LATAM to help find a new perspective to reduce this discrepancy that is slowly growing smaller thanks to new innovative solutions from startups and governmental organizations.
Educator, author, programmer, and public speaker David Warlick once said;
“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.”
and he couldn’t have been more right. Ever since personal computers were popularized in the late ’70s, we have seen a constant increase in the demand for digital tools. In a time where the vast majority of jobs require at least a basic knowledge of computing skills, it is all the more important to prepare students for tomorrow and the event of the pandemic was only the catalyst for the edtech revolution.
Although it is evident that there is a global demand for edtech solutions, it is no surprise that the countries leading the space are the US, China, and India. As seen by YCombinator’s summer cohort list, another honorable mention is Singapore with an E-Learning market expected to reach US$ 2.2 Billion by 2027.
The remainder of this blog will explore the disparity between these industry-leading countries and Latin America.
There are clear economical and social factors affecting the demand and use of digital tools in LATAM and the overall edtech space in the region might surprise you. In fact, Latin America is a world leader in mobile adoption, with more than 415 million out of approximately 690 million people connected to a mobile network. Colombia, for example, is the country in the region with the most searches for online courses to better job opportunities.
The 2021 LAVCA Survey of Latin American Edtech Startups helped point towards a direction of improvement for edtech adoption. When asked about regulatory barriers to growth, respondents said that education sector regulations, taxation, and payroll were the top three concerns and this isn’t something new. In fact, many governments are working towards adopting new regulations to improve their education system. An example is Argentina, with its government-backed Program.ar aiming to help teachers throughout the country integrate programming lessons into their curriculum.
According to the World fund, approximately 22.2 million children and adolescents in Latin America are not in school or are at risk of dropping out of school each year making the education gap very prevalent. Although everyone’s personal situation is different, there are two big reasons why this happens.
- The underpaid and over-schooled phenomena. Whilst in countries like the US, having a higher education diploma can lead to a better job, in Latin America, it is not uncommon for you to get equal or sometimes even lower wages than jobs that don’t require a college degree, leaving many professionals with jobs at places such as call centers.
- Limited access to quality education. In many countries, educational government programs are underfunded and tend to lack resources, teachers, and equipment to really complete what is defined as “quality primary and secondary education”. Furthermore, elements like transportation and access to the internet also play a big role.
Every day, we are seeing more and more startups joining the space, revolutionizing the way we learn, motivating institutions to support their vision, and fighting to give access to quality education. Regardless of the industry challenges, there are many opportunities as well and with the support of governments with strong societal and economical improvement goals, we will continue to see edtech thriving in LATAM.
In the mean time, SuperCharger Ventures has identified a series of Latin American founders striving to capture the growing market opportunity that is edtech. These include;
Anabella Laya, founder at Acreditta 🇨🇴
A company that helps organizations, educational institutions, and professional associations recognize the achievements, competencies, and knowledge of their employees through their digital accreditation solution.
Adriana Caballero, founder at Yeira E-Learning 🇲🇽
Yeira offers a powerful platform to create mixed content with learning analytics in real-time. Their learning experience platform is ready to be used for course management, certifications, and specialized e-learning course creation.
Carolina Arce, founder at uPlanner🇨🇱
Their goal is to promote efficient management for educational institutions through database solutions that positively impact each member of the academic community and generate substantial input in the formation of future professionals.
Giovanna Carbajal Morris, founder at MAGIO🇵🇪
Magio is a consulting agency focused on educational innovation. They support educational institutions with their adaptation into the e-learning space by supporting their course digitization, developing their virtual campus, course portfolio, training, and more.
Monica Ramos, founder at MUSA🇵🇪
Musa is a mobile microlearning solution that uses a chatbot powered by AI through WhatsApp to deliver learning paths to the end-users anytime from wherever they are. Their solution uses a microlearning methodology that when combined with an extensively used app like WhatsApp, helps reach and engage learners at scale.
We are always keen on finding university partners and startups in LATAM. If interested, don’t hesitate on reaching out👇