Sector analysis on edtech in South Africa

This report was created to provide an overview of the education industry in South Africa, tailored to both local and global start-ups that wish to understand the market and need for educational technology (edtech) products and solutions. The aim of the report is to provide invaluable insight into the South African education system, with a specific focus on key institutions, individuals, challenges, and opportunities related to edtech. It provides some useful statistics on the education sector, such as government expenditure on education, the number of edtech start-ups operating in this space as well as the expected value of the edtech market.

Our research highlights the role of government departments, such as the Department of Basic Education (DBE), the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and South Africa’s many higher education institutions, as well as the key outcomes and initiatives planned for the education sector. Additionally, we explore the challenges faced by edtech companies in South Africa and identify strategic opportunities for collaboration and growth. The report showcases prominent edtech companies operating in the country and emphasises the importance of addressing infrastructure, teacher training, localisation of content, and improved access to ensure effective edtech implementation.

Sector analysis into edtech in South Africa – Summary of the report

This report emphasises the importance of collaboration and engagement between government institutions, corporations, and edtech start-ups operating in South Africa’s education sector. It provides a snapshot of the edtech industry, looking at the number of start-ups, government spending on healthcare, the projected value of the market and the fact that edtech is the sector that creates the most jobs on average.

Our research provides an overview of:

  • The key institutions and individuals responsible for the education sector in the South African government, such as the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) – the primary entities overseeing primary, secondary, tertiary, and vocational education in the country.
  • South Africa’s educational landscape, home to 28 higher education institutions, including four of the top-ranking universities in Africa, and 50 registered TVET (technical, vocational, and artisan education and training) colleges, contributing to the diverse educational options available to students.
  • The outcomes desired by the Department of Basic Education. These outcomes include improving school readiness, ensuring that 10-year-old learners enrolled in publicly funded schools can read for meaning, better preparing youths for further studies and the workforce beyond Grade 9, enabling youths leaving the schooling system to contribute to a prosperous and equitable South Africa, and creating a school environment that inspires learners and teachers.
  • New government initiatives planned for 2023. These initiatives aim to address the key outcomes outlined by the Department of Basic Education, focusing on improving school readiness, enhancing reading skills, preparing youths for further studies and employment, and creating better infrastructure within schools.
  • The challenges faced by edtech companies in South Africa, such as regulatory frameworks that are still under development, insufficient ICT policies, budgetary constraints, poor learner performance in public schools, limited buy-in from school governing bodies, geographical scope and infrastructure limitations, and the digital divide arising from high data costs and limited access to technology.
  • Issues that impact the effective implementation of edtech solutions, such as a risk-averse local investor base and the reliance of many edtech solutions on funding due to their non-profit nature. We also take a look at the many social issues that influence education, such as the difference between private and public education, as well as the impact of poverty, crime, and limited infrastructure.
  • Edtech companies operating in South Africa, including GetSmarter, Go1 (South Africa’s first unicorn), Curro Holdings Limited, Snapplify, SPARK Schools, Valenture Institute, iXperience, The Student Hub, Enko Education, and FoondaMate. These companies offer a range of innovation edtech solutions, from online learning management systems and ground-breaking private schools to AI-powered studying platforms that make learning more accessible via chatbots.

Despite the challenges identified in this report, our research outlines some of the strategic opportunities within South Africa’s edtech ecosystem. It highlights the need for collaboration and engagement between start-ups, private and public education, corporates, and government, emphasising the successful partnerships already established in the education sector. South Africa is recognised as a leader in this regard, with mutually beneficial partnerships between incumbents and new entrants.

This analysis provides a comprehensive overview of the South African education system, highlighting key institutions, outcomes, initiatives, challenges, and opportunities. In conclusion, we believe that education can be greatly improved by creating a supportive environment for implementing educational technology (edtech). This will lead to lower costs for edtech solutions and make education more accessible to everyone.


Download the report here.

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