Edtech trends in South East Asia – SOWISO On BETT Asia4 min read

We're looking a little further than just Europe, and have set our eyes on South-East Asia!

Most of us in Education Technology did not decide to go into this industry because they wanted to make money, or fame. We're working on edtech because we believe in education, and the power it has to change lives. This is why SOWISO was started six years ago in Amsterdam, but more importantly, it is why we're looking to bring our solutions to areas of the world where it can do the most good. Hence, in collaboration with The Dutch School, is present at this year's BETT Asia show on November 15-16 in Kuala Lumpur. BETT Asia is an international conference for education, learning technologies & Information and Communications Technologies.

In light of that, let's have a short look at the education and edtech trends in South-East Asia, and why we are so excited to be a part of this amazing event!


South East Asia is doing well economically, and this rise in wealth has created an ever-expanding middle class. It was estimated that in 2012, there were 190 million people in who could be defined as middle class, which means as much as having a disposable income of $16-$100 a day. In fact, it is expected that this will more than double by 2020, to 400 million people. This growing middle class has more and more access to technology, and the education sector has reflected this as well. Especially in private education institutions, students are using more edtech solutions every year.

More interestingly for the edtech industry, the majority of the world's youth population lives in Asia. India stands at number one, with a whopping 356 million people between 10 and 24 years old, followed by China with 269 million, and Indonesia with (only) 67 million youngsters.

This growth is not expected to stop any time soon. It is expected that growth will remain steady with an average rate of 6.2% real gross domestic product until at least 2020.

Education Trends

Education is of incredible importance to upcoming countries in South East Asia. For example, look at the next to graphs to see how education can be a source of development. You can clearly see the similarities. And governments know this. Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam all spend more than 15% of their total government expenditure on education. Thailand even spends around 22.5%!


Asia GDP


Education Attainment Asia
Source: UNESCO (2014), EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/4

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Even better, the gross enrolment ratio in tertiary education in South East Asia is going up as well! A large number of middle and low income countries in this region have made tremendous progress in widening access to bachelor's degrees programs! In China, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the gross enrollment ratios for BA programs have increased over 10 times the past four decades.


Higher Ed Enrolment Asia


Education Technology

What about trends regarding technology?

The internet has transformed education in a very fundamental way, moving the power from the institution to the student, and opening up more education to more people, as well as making learning more efficient. That's great, and the good news is that the number of internet users in Asia is growing every day, with currently 39% of people having internet access.

Not unimportantly, there is a surge in private higher education institutions, a trend that is in many cases even encouraged by the local government. This makes it easier for education technology to take hold! In fact, some OECD Member States in Asia have outperformed international standards when it comes to technology-powered education.

South East Asia realizes that the emerging knowledge society has to be taken seriously. Ways of learning, as well as teaching, are evolving fast to really bring forward learner-centric ecosystems, where collaboration, knowledge creation and even sharing knowledge is important. Especially in countries that aren't a fully developed stage when it comes to education technology, there's a growing need for modern education technology revolutions. Related to that, there is a development discourse that emphasizes the role of education technology in reaching those who previously had less access to good education. In addition, providing support to those who cannot access resources, such as infrastructure or even well-trained teachers, is also emphasized.


The BETT Asia show is a great opportunity to meet with education professionals, thinkers and changemakers in the region. We can't wait to see you there!

Let's talk again soon,


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