Shaking up the concept of traditional financial services, digital challenger banks such as Starling and Monzo have revolutionised the way we save and spend our money. And now, technology is poised to disrupt the education sector. Here’s what you need to know about the continued success of fintech and the rise of edtech.
Having identified a demand among consumers for innovative digital services, fintech companies have flourished in recent years. And now, in order to equip tomorrow’s workforce with the skills needed to flourish in the financial sector, a growing number of academic institutions are launching fintech courses. We look at how our increasingly connected world is changing the face of education.
Who is launching fintech courses and why?
Fuelled in part by student demand, and recognition of the challenges currently facing traditional banking careers, business schools at Stanford University and Georgetown University recently launched fintech courses, while New York University added a fintech specialisation to its business school last year.
This growing focus on fintech within academic institutions is being replicated in the UK too, with the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School offering an online short course in fintech, that’s designed to help prepare business executives for a future where more and more financial services functions are based around technology.
According, to Business Insider, the course will “take a systems approach to understanding fintech disruption” across “money, markets, marketplaces and infrastructure”, and more than 60 different leaders in the fintech space will be involved in teaching and guidance partnerships in some capacity.
Adding fintech courses as a University option is great news for the industry. Today’s students will be part of tomorrow’s workforce, and it’s important that they are tech-savvy and equipped with the relevant business skills. After all, if they want a career in banking, it’s no use them leaving university with obsolete or outdated financial qualifications.
But these courses do more than support the continued success and predicted growth of the fintech sector. Many of them are taught exclusively online, and this is evidence of another technology-based trend, which is being referred to as ‘edtech’.
Edtech and the future of higher education
Mobile apps, Google tools, YouTube videos and online webinars now all play a part in the classroom and lecture theatre, enabling teachers to present information and ideas to students in new and innovative ways that can help maximise learning retention.
Not only that, now more and more institutions are doing away with classrooms and lecture theatres altogether, finding online-only learning to be a cost-effective option for them and a more flexible means of learning for students. Edtech also provides access to education for people who are unable to attend sessions on-site, therefore broadening the reach of higher education institutions.
As a result of edtech’s continued growth, many investors are referring to the digitisation of educational services as the next fintech. And, following the economic uncertainty brought about by the Brexit vote in 2016 and volatile European markets, it’s seems an increasing number of people now view edtech as a safer investment opportunity.
In fact, edtech investment is set to reach $252 billion globally by 2020, and companies like Plural sight, Udemy, Coursera and Kaltura are among a growing number of providers to have already received in excess of $100m in funding. In the UK, the edtech start-up scene is also flourishing – with Raspberry Pi and Knowledgeotion among the thousand-plus fledgling ventures competing for investors’ attention.
So, as education gets a digital-first makeover, experts predict that edtech will encourage higher education institutions – like many other businesses around the world – to undergo a digital transformation and make immersive learning a key part of mainstream teaching.