Next decade will be a time of growth and change in the world of education. As the population continues expanding in regions like Africa and Asia, enormous pressure will put on schools to deliver education effectively and sustainably. In near future, there will be close to 800 million more K-12 graduates than today.
At the same time, more parents worldwide opt to put their children in private schools, hoping to give them best tools in life. In the past 20 years, the number of international schools and students enrolled has skyrocketed in the Middle East and Asia (source).
Moreover, the changes happening in working life lead to adult schooling becoming more and more common. Economies need to devise more flexible and functional vocational schooling systems, so that the needs of the labour market are met.
To sum it up: the global education market is expected to reach 10 trillion dollars by 2030, with a share of 55% on K-12 schooling (source). Clearly there is a window of opportunity for a company, whose solutions are based on the innovative and worldwide renowned Finnish education system, delivered via a network of experienced specialists with goal to have a larger impact to the education.
Education Is an Investment in Human Capital
Human capital includes the knowledge, abilities and skills of an individual person. Along with training and experience, it can help people to become more productive citizens and raise their potential income earnings. On a bigger scale, access to good quality education can promote social change, stability and long-term economic growth (source) – larger impact to the society.
But as Polar Partners and others have seen – schools and teaching lack in many ways. Children aren’t given the right knowledge or skills for the future. “Many countries are in the first stage of change – realizing there is a problem. Now the question is where the solutions come from”, says one of Polar Partners’ investors, Will Cardwell.
“Countries will increase investment and look for better solutions”, according to Cardwell, and this is where Polar Partners comes in. For those regions that are only now starting to invest in education, high-ranking countries are the most common and coveted role models.
The Growing Middle-class Expects the Best
In addition to school development projects done together with the public sector, the global K-12 market offers great opportunities in the field of private education as well.
Kristian Warras, another Polar Partners’ investor, explains: “The younger people in the developing countries will demand better education for themselves and their children, due to the increased understanding of the possibilities, which importing better education (from other countries) could bring. This will raise the demand for education dramatically in the future.”
There are numerous indicators that the modern middle-class is indeed prepared to invest time, effort and money in quality education. One only needs to look at the booming private international school market to see that parents are keen to provide their children with the best (source).
According to Anne Keeling of ISC Research the trend has been fuelled by the increase in personal wealth (source). Parents also wish to prepare their children for studying and working abroad – and a multicultural, English-speaking school is a good start. Even though international schools have been the domain of expatriate children, nowadays the majority of the students come from local middle-class families.
But Why Finnish Education and Polar Partners?
“Finland has a good reputation and a high-quality education brand as a country. This opens the global market for the product”, comments Warras. It was this demand of Finnish education, along with Polar Partners’ fresh, premium K-12 school concept and the team of pedagogical experts, that sealed his investment decision.
Cardwell adds: “Good education is not rocket science – it is about basic pedagogical principles. Finland has the best underlying value that I have seen and is thus potentially a large part of solutions globally”.
Even though there are many players in the field of delivering Finnish education nowadays and winning in education market will take time, since it’s “a marathon”, Cardwell is positive that providing people with quality education will pay off in the long run, “Polar Partners has demonstrated that it is capable of being a significant player in implementing Finnish educational values, and thus I believe has strong growth potential.”
Kristian Warras and Will Cardwell invested in Polar Partners on the seed investment round in H1 2020 together with a few other investors.
Written by Polar Partners’ Marketing Intern Krista Ojanen.