Singapore's education institutions are considered among the most advanced and updated in the world with regard to information technology. Singapore has been faithfully implementing master plans since 1997 for integrating technology into education.
Educational technology plays a huge role in classrooms in Singapore. The government encourages the adoption of best practices in schools and serves as a catalyst for innovation in schools.
Few reasons for EdTech startups flocking to Singapore are jotted below, have a look:
- Market: Continuing in the lead as the economy with the most business-friendly regulations in the world, Singapore is regularly featured among the top 5 countries in the World Bank's Doing Business Report. The 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, published by The Heritage Foundation, has similarly ranked Singapore's economy at 2nd position for its open market and regulatory efficiency. Singapore’s new businesses have one of the largest internationalized clienteles. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Singapore 2013 report, 14.5% of businesses reported having more than 75% of their customers based overseas and 22.3% of businesses reported having between 25-75% foreign customers. Singapore has also topped the world's most expensive city to live in 2014, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Singapore is ranked 22nd in quantification for the quality of life (Netherlands ranked 2nd) with reference to EIU Spatial Adjusted Livability Index.
- From Google’s Consumer Barometer: Singaporeans own an average of 3.3 devices each. Singapore also has the highest smartphone penetration in the world at 85%. This leads to the fact that the population is well connected and makes ways for adopting e learning. In the Global Search for Education, Dr. Pak Tee Ng said – “The focus is on using technology as a tool for teaching and learning, rather than on technology in itself. In the future, all Singapore schools will be connected to the Next Generation Broadband Network (NGBN), which will provide ultra-high speed wireless connectivity. In 5 years time, there will possibly be an increase in the proportion of online learning compared to face-to-face classroom contact.”
- Learning trends are only going to intensify, especially given Singapore’s vision to be a Smart Nation, launched in November 2014. The rise of intelligent solutions to bettering lives and society will call for innovation in all areas, learning included e-learning significantly increasing efficiency and accessibility of learning will play a strong role in revolutionizing education. The conditions for flourishing e-learning startups in Singapore are clearly set. “Let’s not do something 5 per cent better. Let’s do something significantly better – 10 times better, 10 times cheaper, 10 times faster.” - Mr. Steve Leonard, (Executive Deputy Chairman, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore) quoted in his opening address at the CommunicAsia 2015 Summit on Smart Nation: Singapore.
- Human Capital: Singapore has one of the best education systems in the world, and students from their schools are rated very high globally in science and mathematics. The factors were in Singapore’s favor and still are - the excellent math and science abilities of its students, its ranking as the most networked country in the world according to the World Economic Forum’s Global IT Report, and its highly networked, highly tech-savvy community. According to the Solidiance report, Singapore scores high in the Knowledge Creation category, indicating sound education system and proper educational facilities in the country. It is also among the top 3 countries for a good education system (Netherlands ranked 8th) according to the 2014 Pearson’s Global Index of Cognitive Skills and Educational Attainment. Singapore's scientific output which has steadily grown and surpassed many of its neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region (currently ranked 5th), according to 2014 Nature Publishing Index (NPI) Asia Pacific. The research opportunities in four of Singapore's leading universities, National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU), and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) has seen remarkable development towards innovation and entrepreneurship.
- It’s great to be an entrepreneur in Singapore, especially if your business model is based online. The age of the Internet has played the biggest role in globalization, and it’s no surprise that it has revolutionized the global corporate workflow, as we know it. Amazing ecosystem of the Singaporean market is one of the reasons EdTech startups are more interested to startup in Singapore.
With Education being a top priority for the Singapore government, the country heads ensures that schools in Singapore receive the funding they need to continually provide a superior education for their students. Singapore, being a modern society, firmly believes that technology provides students a strong platform to enhance their educational experience. Government itself pushing the growth of EdTech in the country makes EdTech entrepreneurs preferring Singapore for their startups.
Why do you think edtech startups are choosing the Singapore market? How would you compare it to other markets in Asia? Which startups do you know of? Share your views and insights on this with us in the comment box below.