Across industries all over the world, technology has become a major driving tool. This has brought about a paradigm shift in businesses and every other endeavor. However, it seems the international education industry is completely immune to the technology revolution.
With the COVID pandemic, one would envisage a paradigm shift in the way Universities recruit foreign students. One would also expect the disruption that has taken place in other industries to gain footing in the education sector. Unfortunately, neither of these has happened. Looking at the EdTech players, they seem to be going by the traditional ways of recruitment which require them to act as an agent that market locally, screen and ensure students resume on campus.
No doubt education buying comes with its peculiarities. Unlike Amazon, customers can view products and make a buying decision with the hope of returning the product if it doesn’t suit their needs. Aside from this, buyers or individuals can decide on whether or not to buy the product. This is not the case in education. Even though students themselves are the customers, the buyers include their parents and their guidance. When it comes to international education, the buyers include other stakeholders such as visa consular and the government. The visa consular makes the final decision on whether to sell the product to the students because if the student study permit is denied, then there is no sale.
On the other hand, the government decides on whether to make the study destination an attractive one or not. For example, during the Trump government era in the USA, students from China and Muslim countries were discouraged from studying in the USA. Recently, the announcement made by the UK government to allow graduating students to work for two years after their study didn’t only make the country attractive but also makes the selling of UK education much easier for the universities.
Suffice to say that a lot of EdTech companies have failed to disrupt the international education industry because they failed to understand that the buying process of education has so many layers as compared to the buying process of every other goods and service. Uber disrupted the transportation industry because the decision to move from point A to B can be made by one person and achieved within a short period. The same approach applies to AIRBNB as a guest can view pictures of a property and make a decision on the basis that “if I get to the house and I don’t like it, I can decide to opt-out and find another property.”
Unintentionally, the biggest Edtech companies in international education that are meant to focus on automation are gradually moving towards a manual process. In the world of technology that we live today, Edtech companies are meant to focus on eliminating the manual process and using technology to remove the middleman from every step that prospective students go through in their process of studying abroad.
Of course, universities partners are demanding quality and not quantity. Due to the nature and the buying process of international education, Edtech companies are finding it difficult to ensure quality without human intervention. The question is, are they supposed to be innovating robotic applications that will act like human beings and bring out quality from the quantity received through their platforms? A recent report shows that most of the EdTech players have started running a sub-agency model while some are forced to recruit local partners that will manually submit students’ applications as well as counsel the student.
The question now is, are the EdTech companies the ones disrupting their industry or, are they just supporting the old process with technology?
Findadmission approach is different and our mandate hasn’t changed since we launched our platform in 2017. Our focus is to use technology to make study abroad much easier, faster, and convenient. From the comfort of any prospective student’s home, we want them to be able to access education abroad as well as submit an application to their preferred institutions while we allow international education providers to market, network, and recruit students irrespective of their location.