Textbooks could be passé in 10 years: UAE education experts

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on January 8, 2021
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Research suggests that the global educational technology (EdTech) market is set to reach $404 billion by 2025.

Education experts in the UAE believe that with how the pandemic is accelerating schools’ digital transformation, e-learning content could replace textbooks in the next 10 years.

Research suggests that the global educational technology (EdTech) market is set to reach $404 billion by 2025.

The recently held EdX Accelerate Education Summit and Awards 2020 gave an insight into the emerging trend. “EdTech is growing at 16.3 per cent and will grow 2.5 times from 2019 to 2025, reaching $404 billion in total global expenditure. Even at this level, EdTech and digital expenditure will only make up 5.2 per cent of the $7.3-trillion global education market in 2025.”

According to another recent report by Alpen Capital, the total number of students in the nations under the Gulf Cooperation Council is projected to reach 14.5 million in 2022.

Krishnan Gopi, group chief disruption officer at GEMS Education, said 75 per cent of teachers believed digital learning content would replace printed textbooks in the next decade.

He said: “Data is the new currency and teachers are not the only source of knowledge for students. Disruption in education is being led by EdTech providers, including the technology giants such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft.”

Covid-19 has accelerated the digital disruption in Dh246-billion education sector of the GCC region, prompting teachers to hold virtual classes, assign tasks online and conduct exams digitally.

In the UAE, schools have revamped the network infrastructure and heavily invested in research and development, especially amid the pandemic.

Dr Brian Gray, principal of Springdales School, Dubai, said: “We have made some significant expenditures to support online learning, from providing the latest laptops to all the teaching staff, revamping the entire network infrastructure and doubling the bandwidth capacity to eliminate lag time...A budget of over Dh1.5 million has been allocated towards this.”

Institutions are also enabling improved file-sharing modalities within secure digital learning spaces, emphasising on creating students’ digital portfolio and promoting connected learning as part of a dynamic learning environment.

Brendon Fulton, principal of Dubai British School, Jumeirah Park, said: “Additional investment for the school has come in the form of subject-specific applications and programmes, which further support distance learning. As a school, we have always proactively engaged with technology to support learning and so we have continued to use our already embedded systems.”

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