What you should know about the promising Brazilian EdTech market

What impact has the COVID-19 lockdown had on the success of Education Technology? A question that not only arouses the interest of entrepreneurs and investors. Teachers and other representatives of the education system also keep an eye on the upcoming technological solutions in the sector. Particularly, as these solutions are likely to stay and change the way of teaching and learning for the long term.

Surely, there is still some resistance against so-called EdTech. But the education sector had already seen changes over the last years. And now, during the new coronavirus pandemic, many EdTech companies had the chance to show what they have to offer.

School closures around the globe

During the Covid-19 crisis, schools around the globe had to close their doors. So, teachers, students and parents were forced to embark on the enormous challenge of homeschooling. According to the United Nations education agency, around 91% of the world’s students were affected by school closures.

To gather concrete information on home learning during the pandemic, UK’s accelerator EDUCATE Ventures launched a global survey to test EdTech success. The researchers hope to find out more about what is working out well, in order to help the sector learn from the experience.

“We have never had an opportunity before for such a wide-scale experiment, so it is essential that we use it to generate evidence about the impact and effectiveness of technology at this difficult time”, said the director of EDUCATE, Rose Luckin.

COVID-19 and the Brazilian educational system

In Brazil, since March this year, several city mayors and state governors have determined the suspension of classes of the public and private school sector. Professors and teachers had to adapt their lessons to remote learning. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a huge challenge for most of them.

The Innovation Center for Brazilian Education (CIEB) has analyzed how the teaching staff has used technological solutions and EdTech to keep contact with students. Following the final report, the majority has sent out digital materials or generic orientations via social networks or produced video lessons, which the students could access via their mobile devices.

One factor that may explain the teachers’ difficulty to adapt to education technology is that distance learning in Brazil has already been permitted in university education, but not for elementary schools. They are only allowed to offer online classes in emergency situations – like the current coronavirus pandemic.

The main challenges Brazilian teachers must deal with

The CIEB report points out that the country’s educational system still requires significant improvement when it comes to implementing EdTech. The reason is that Brazil has no or only little experience with education technology, as the director and president of CIEB, Lucia Delagnello, stated.

“Most state education departments in the country do not have an established platform or methodology for offering remote classes”, he said, according to an article published by DW.com. Additionally, many professors and teachers are missing adequate training how to adopt EdTech during classes. The exception are states in the Amazon region, which use distance learning to reach riverside communities.

Brazilian EdTechs as pandemic winners

The Covid-19 pandemic has served as a catalyst for the Brazilian EdTech sector. For instance, the startup Shapp, which connects teachers and students for individual classes, already registered a significant increase right in the beginning of the pandemic. In March alone, the number of teachers enrolled, as well as the number of class requests doubled compared to the same month of the previous year.

“In Brazil, demand for educational applications grew 130% in March alone, the first month of the pandemic,” said André Alves, co-founder and CEO of Shapp, according to inforchannel.com.br.

Thereby, education applications showed better results than those for delivery and video streaming, Alves added. Only applications that help with remote working and video-conferencing recorded a higher demand.

New challenges awaiting EdTech startups in Brazil

According to a national study (“Mapeamento Edtech – Investigação sobre as startups de tecnologia educacional – 2019) by the Brazilian Startup Association (abstartup), the country has lastly registered 449 EdTech startups. This represents a 23% increase compared to data collection in 2018. Most of them are located in the Southeast Region. The state of São Paulo is home to about 35% of them.

Regarding profiles, 61% of the enterprises offer Software as a Service (SaaS). Additionally, more than 70% address the basic education, of which 48% serve elementary and high school. Furthermore, about 22% serve the kindergarten sector.

In the coming years, EdTech companies in Brazil will have to deal mainly with how to enter the public school sector. It is considered more bureaucratic and with little budget. Another challenge will be how to reach those students, especially in the rural areas, who today do not have or have little access to the internet.

Check out the principal fields of Education Technology in Brazil:

  • Educational games
  • School Management Support
  • Educational Management System
  • Virtual learning environment
  • Adaptive Educational Platform
  • Online content platform

Get to know some of the most important Brazilian EdTech startups:

  • Quero Educação
  • Educross
  • DreamShaper
  • Witseed
  • Descomplica

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