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Nordic EdTech News #96: 2023-09-18
Your Weeks 36 - 37 update from the Nordic and Baltic EdTech ecosystem
Nordic EdTech News is the best way to keep up with the EdTech ecosystem across 8 Nordic and Baltic countries. I curate it from company updates and a wide variety of international sources. It’s a passion project of mine - the rest of my time is spent advising / consulting the companies who lead the future of learning. If you’d like to find out more, drop me an email.
Hello, good morning and welcome to today’s NEN. Let’s dive straight into the news and updates from the last two weeks!
While the international media focuses on Sweden’s “back-to-basics schooling”, it’s encouraging that the best of Nordic EdTech continues to be internationally recognised for the quality of its pedagogy and technology. So huge congratulations to Finland’s GraphoGame, which has been named a winner of UNESCO’s King Sejong Literacy Prize (Link).
This global prize is sponsored by the Government of the Republic of Korea, and recognises exceptional contributions to mother language-based literacy development. Buoyed by this success, GraphoGame's ongoing fundraising campaign on the Folkeinvest platform had reached €1.78 million by 13th September.
Whilst on literacy, Sweden’s national government has announced that the 2024 budget will contain new investment to strengthen students' reading skills. This involves, among other things, a major investment in “staffing school libraries and money to buy books” (Link). The move follows a significant recent increase (+SEK 850 million) in the Likvärdighetsbidraget (Link). These grants aim to raise knowledge and quality in Swedish schools and will be known as the Kunskapsbidraget or Knowledge Grant moving forwards.
We continue to see significant acquisition activity across Nordic EdTech and there’s three notable deals to mention from the last fortnight.
Sweden’s Gothia Kompetens made a second market move in recent weeks, purchasing Wacano, a skills development business that produces educational podcasts for schools and the wider public sector (Link).
Norway’s Trainor has been acquired by Apave Group, the French vocational training organisation (Link). Trainor delivers “training services, digital solutions and technical advice to offshore, maritime and land-based industries worldwide.”
Visma has bought Vklass, the Swedish learning platform (Link). The move follows a long search by Visma for a solution in the highly competitive Swedish market. Visma was attracted by three key elements: Vklass delivers “successful cloud services with high customer satisfaction and…there is significant growth potential within the domain.”
Given the evidence, it’s unsurprising to see Peter Bøegh Nielsen of Statistics Denmark pointing out in a new OECD report that “Nordic scaleups are significantly more likely to get acquired by foreign investors than comparable firms.” (Link)
Although levels of VC investment are still much reduced year-on-year, there’s two significant pieces of news to update subscribers on.
Danish EdTech, Swap Language, has raised a €2 million seed investment from Mediahuis Ventures and Sparkmind.VC (Link). The solution uses immersive video content, AI-generated exercises and spoken lessons “to help international employees achieve the language skills they need both in and out of the workplace.”
Sweden’s Natur & Kultur have increased their stake in EdAider. According to their press release, the investment is “the equivalent of a 10% share in the company” but no specific figures have been released.
Nearly 65% of shareholders have now accepted the all-cash private equity deal to take Kahoot back into private ownership (Link). The deadline has already been extended to 22nd September and can be pushed back even further to 6 October. We’re surely now into what Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary football manager, used to call “squeaky bum time.” Separately, Kahoot! and the LEGO Foundation have teamed up to launch a new initiative to raise awareness about neurodiversity and inclusion (Link)
As always, if you’ve got a story that you’d like me to include in a future issue of this newsletter, please email email@example.com, tag me on Twitter or LinkedIn or use #nordicedtech / #balticedtech.
Thanks for reading, Jonathan
News from Denmark
New government commitment will strengthen adults' basic “reading, arithmetic and IT skills.” (Link)
Members of the government’s expert panel propose that national tests for students should be dropped. (Link)
News from Estonia
Congratulations to Play My Math, who has been named a winner in the 2023 Tools Competition, a global competition for EdTech innovation. (Link)
News from Finland
Maja Henriksson, Finland’s Minister of Education, emphasised equality in her speech at the event: “We must design digital systems with the most marginalised in mind, focusing on human rights, equity & inclusion. Teachers need to be engaged to ensure that pedagogy remains at the centre of technology.”
New advice from Opetushallitus, the National Board of Education, states that AI technology should be used by primary and secondary schools. (Link)
News from Iceland
The Icelandic Data Protection Authority has imposed a €10,000 fine on the University of Iceland following a complaint about the institution’s surveillance practices. (Link)
News from Latvia
56% of Latvians aged between 18 and 74 plan to acquire new knowledge and skills in the next 9 months. (Link)
News from Lithuania
News from Norway
94.4% of students in grunnskolen have access to their own digital device. In 2022/2023, 42% of students had a tablet, 29% had a laptop (Apple or PC) and 23% had a Chromebook. (Link)
“What happens when you apply AI to school data?” is the theme for an upcoming school data conference in Drammen 7 to 8 November. (Link)
News from Sweden
“Swedish schools are not schools for everyone." Skolverket reports significant differences in the availability of qualified teachers and that “teaching materials are largely lacking.”
BookBites, a digital book service for schools, launches in Sweden.
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