Scenario #3. Global Giants

Five Scenarios for Education in 2030

Education Intelligence Unit

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June 2, 2018

Welcome to Global Giants

Globalization has brought the world closer together in 2030, through the integration of international trade, technology, investment and human capital. Multilateral agreements and free market policies have removed barriers to international trade and a stable geopolitical environment fosters global competition and growth. Enabled by technology, there is an unprecedented interconnectedness among populations and the exchange of ideas and values among cultures. Political activity has lifted to the global level as intergovernmental organizations play a greater role in shaping international law, security, trade and commerce.

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Rise of the titans

This global free market environment has fostered the emergence of ‘mega-organizations’ with ubiquitous brand recognition and the scale to achieve significant efficiencies and industry power. Smaller organizations struggle to compete in this global market environment. This trend is mirrored in the education industry with substantial consolidation of post secondary education providers and the emergence of global public and private education juggernauts, which take up massive market share and put further pressure on local institutions.

Borderless education has come of age, fueled by the needs of a global, mobile and tech enabled workforce and by organizations that require human capital with the right knowledge and skills at the right time in the right place.

Technology discovers education

Technology giants are now capturing value offered by the $10 trillion global education market and in particular the emerging markets of Asia, Africa and Latin America which rely heavily on smart-phone internet access and which make up the majority of the global education market by number of learners. Through acquisition of EdTech startups across the value chain, these mega-tech’s now serve up a full suite of education services including content, analytics, assessment, communication and reporting. To further consolidate their positions, global education, technology and industry giants form alliances to compete in the accredited post secondary space, and dominate professional skills training. The boundary between education and technology organizations continues to blur as the generation and communication of information morph’s into learning and knowledge processes.

A new global elite

In this competitive globalized environment, regular universities lose the ability to compete for the delivery of education as a pathway to professional employment and we see a consolidation of some universities, while others develop niche local offerings and yet others return to their research origins. Meanwhile a few innovative higher education institutions successfully take the leap from ‘exclusive elite’ to ‘inclusive elite’, using their existing brand recognition to power growth through successfully scaling quality and building a network of global alumni who further reinforce the brand and support physical presence in most countries.

Data Driven K-12 learning

Despite the disruption occurring in the post-secondary and career skills sector, K-12 school systems, supported by strong government policies, remain largely focused on fulfilling national priorities. In 2030, learning processes in schools are significantly enhanced by technology and enable personalization of learning. This data rich environment allows the capture of information from most learning activities. Real-time analysis and reporting to teachers and parents provides the opportunity for timely intervention and support, while aggregated data feeds back to the technology provider to enhance product development, and school systems for benchmarking and reporting. The integrated technology ecosystems provided by tech-giants offer significant benefits to schools and the promise of enhanced outcomes for learners.

Regulatory innovation

Consolidation has eased pressure on regulators who now deal with a much less fragmented education market. Agreements with tech-giants allow big data on schools, learning activity, assessment, teachers and students to feed directly to the regulator, which has transformed into a data-driven decision maker. No longer impeded by the historical information lag, regulators are able to use insights from data to proactively shape policy and support innovation. Regulatory bodies form their own global alliances in order to better understand the implications of global providers and in particular collaborate on data security issues.

Measuring Scenarios

Scenarios do not predict the future, but present snapshots of a range of possible futures. They should paint a picture of ‘what could be’ with enough depth to be plausible, but not be too exact.

Each scenario represents the different ways in which key drivers have developed and interacted, and so they are not meant to be compared against each other. However, there are common aspects, implied in all scenarios which help to explain underlying thinking that supported their construction.

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