In a report, the global education technology market size valued at USD 76.4 billion in 2019 is now set to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.1% from 2020 to 2027. Source. Holistically speaking, growth is good when it safeguards the business without compromising the essential value, which for an edtech startup is education cartwheeled on accessibility and affordability.
Notice the irony: Edtech startups boast of technology for increasing accessibility to education, but their absurd pricing of online programs makes it completely inaccessible. And that’s my point of the contest, not to demean the ed-tech sector, but have responsible cost calibration to live up to the ethics of operating in the educational industry.
Executive courses in Industry 4.0 technologies and, most specifically, digital marketing programs are the hot buns helping startups in the domain gain rapid unicorn status. It saddens me to see how universities that eventually issue certificates on subjects like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality are the ones to leverage these edtech startups for better course marketing?
One may argue that accessing a crash course on behavioral science from the London School of Economics was a distant dream for any Asian sandpapered by the $value. Edtech startups made it possible, and hence we owe it to them. My fellow millennials and dear GenZ, may I have your attention here to understand the money behind the coming together of a university and an edtech startup? It is the price you pay.
The coming together of a university and an edtech startup helps universities- control costs on technology, maintain technology, scale student count, ensure higher income flow over and above state-regulated funding, etc. For edtech startup entrepreneurs, it is reselling university programs using digital technologies, scale student count, and leverage go-to growth strategies for next market valuation. Where is that unbiased focus on real education?
As a discerning reader, you have come across Salesforce’s recent announcement of outstanding profits paired to a substantial layoff decision for “strategic realignment.” It broke my heart. Businesses deferring layoffs are now delighted to encash the pandemic preparing the ground for future layoffs. The new job openings you now come across are primarily refurbished opportunities, which you are okay to accept because you are faced with a crisis, and you need a job.
So, here you are in a trial zone to decide on your educational choices, given the job market’s volatility. Unless you have unaccounted wealth, you have to be mindful of your investment in expensive online educational programs sold by edtech startups that promise you the convenience of study-at-your-own-pace and ace the next appraisal because data science is cool. Ironically, it is that data reveals that edtech startups tout expensive online educational programs for better career placement, which ironically ends up in organizations like Salesforce that layoff despite profit.
So, it is the time to reevaluate how we upgrade ourselves without affecting our finance, affecting our collective family well-being and the community that cares for us. You can’t take a loan to pursue an online program unsure of i) the learning experience, ii) your eventual promotion or placement in the era of record-breaking layoffs.
Let’s consider an example. Your boss makes a pass at your aptitude for learning. You feel triggered because you have the skill but not on papers to fight the accusation. Your boss, part of the C-suite circle, seeks commission from an edtech startup for every such trigger released for new student sign-ups. You get into that booby trap; sign up for a program because you want to better your situation. Lucky if you get to continue your current job, but a new release in the huddle announces lay off. That’s it. Again, great if you have an emergency back-up, but if not, start an excruciatingly painful journey hunting job opportunities because now you know the online program you signed up for only had so many vacant positions they negotiated with top companies, and your performance is not up to their recommendation.
Listen, I appreciate that you want to learn and grow and live one damn life professionally fulfilling? All I ask is to learn without leading yourself to a financial disaster because you don’t know what the future has in stock. Read, learn, and network with domain experts—be a part of a like-minded group on Reddit, Quora, and LinkedIn. Go for continued studies from Havard and Standford free-of-cost. Did you check Google Genius yet? Look for inexpensive conferences in your domain to network and collect new ideas. Try requirement specific courses priced at $12 onwards on Udemy against spending anything above $100 for learning from sources that won’t guarantee you professional and financial security.