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Educational Technology: Exports

Volume 687: debated on Thursday 14 January 2021

The latest data gathered from a survey by the British Educational Suppliers Association indicates that UK EdTech exports are worth £170 million a year. That is expected to increase in light of the pandemic, which has lifted demand for EdTech products and services. The UK is well placed to take advantage of this trend as the fourth largest market globally. More important than the market value is the difference that good educational technology can make.

My hon. Friend will recall that, when we worked together on the international education strategy, EdTech was a key export growth area—and that was before, as he mentions, the focus that the pandemic put on its role. What can be done across Government to maximise the export potential of EdTech for the future?

My right hon. Friend is quite right. It was in his time as Secretary of State for Education that we built much closer ties between our Departments to make sure we could promote educational exports. He is also right to highlight the pandemic’s impact on EdTech. We are working with BESA, the British Educational Suppliers Association, and the Department for Education, his old Department, on a major EdTech event this month, which will connect companies with overseas buyers.

More activity is planned for later in the year in several key markets, supported by the international trade champion, Sir Steve Smith. That post, of course, came out of the work that my right hon. Friend did to develop the international education strategy. He will be pleased to know that we will soon be launching a refreshed international education strategy, in collaboration with the Department for Education and with the support of other Government Departments, that includes provisions to maximise EdTech’s export potential.