5 useful trends in US education market for EdTech in 2023

5 useful trends in US education market for EdTech in 2023
Photo by Erik Mclean / Unsplash

The United States has one of the largest education markets in the world. With a population of over 330 million people, the country's education system is vast, diverse, and infinitely attractive to EdTtech startups worldwide. According to the United Nations World Population Prospects 2022, the United States ranks fourth in terms of the number of people between the ages of 0-19, with a population of 82 million. India tops the list with a population of 464 million, followed by China with 218 million. Although India and China lead the way with the number of the younger population, US sets itself apart in the monthly expenditure per student and price sensitivity when it comes to investment in education.

Deep government pocket - pros and cons

In addition to the population, the United States is an attractive market for EdTech players because of the size of funding available. Every year, Federal and State governments allocate billions of dollars to public schools and districts throughout the country, part of which gets set aside for technology. The pandemic has triggered not only an increase in this investment into technology, but also a historic $190 billion federal fund called the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund for relief from COVID-19.

While the unprecendent level of funding into education is impressive, the large sum comes with some concerns. The massive amount of dollars in the system is likely not sustainable for future annual budgets of the schools, which means it is difficult for schools to initiate expenses that may be essential but hard to retain over the years. With an expiration date of September 2024, districts may find it difficult to spend the funds on technology that often incur recurring costs and will run into post-ESSER bills. EdTechs will have to keep in mind that "funding cliff" is a palpable concern for schools.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

The education industry was one of the most impacted as a result of the recent pandemic. While the education industry is often seen as conservative and slow to change, here are some notable changes to understand when working in the education sector in 2023:

  1. Coping with learning gaps

The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant learning gaps in schools, and bridging these gaps is one of the main challenges of today's education sector. Interventions such as tutoring, accelerated learning, and summer programs are in place with partnerships with private sector companies. High-dosage tutoring in school and online are options adopted by public schools as educators look for ways to make up for the learning loss. Experts estimate this trend to take years to turn around.

2. Reinforcement for STEM education

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math and often refers to related pedagogy in terms of how to relate and integrate the subjects into student's learning. The U.S. government has been investing consistently in this area in recent years, with the Department of Education funding approximately $141 million in new grants and $437 million to continue STEM education programs in 2020. The Biden-Harris administration has also launched a new initiative to scale high-quality STEM education across the US. Private sector has not lost a beat; increasing number of efforts are made by tutoring and edtech companies to supplement the government-driven initiatives to reinforce STEM education.  

3. Growing need for mental health support

The need for mental health support is observed in most markets around the world, and the US is no exception. The education sector in particular experienced a growing need for mental health support; while the issue predates the pandemic, lockdowns and school closures have exacerbated the emotional distress experienced by many students. Some ways to address this have been increasing professional training for educators working with students and integrating Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs into core curricula, but the effort is still patchy at best.

4. Lack of teaching staff across the country

The shortage of teaching staff is one of the biggest challenges facing education. This situation is particularly challenging in less densely populated rural areas, but urban centers also experience difficulties finding teachers, administrators, and other critical staff including aides, transportation workers, custodians, and mental health staff. The staffing shortage has been plaguing the schools before the pandemic but the post-pandemic situation is so dire that some schools are allowing college students to step into the classrooms. This issue is likely to exacerbate in the coming years and is an area that will benefit greatly from innovative technological solutions.

5. Global need and demand for personalized learning

Estimated at around $2 billion by 2024, personalized learning market is experiencing growth in education as a whole, particularly as a way of addressing various post-pandemic issues facing children's education around the world. US has seen push from the public and private sector towards flexible instruction methods that meets individual student needs, but the implementation is slow without considering teacher workloads. Research and expert opinion shows that use of data and digital technology could speed up this process.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

Food for thoughts for EdTechs in 2023

The education sector is facing several challenges and trends that require both immediate and long-term attention. While human intervention remains critical, there is much room for technology to accelerate and pave way in meeting the needs of this important industry.

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