Edtech services to get funding from federal coffers?

23 May 2020

The federal Ministry of Communications earlier this month suggested that online education services be put on a list of the recipients of government subsidies, the Russian business daily Kommersant reported.

Ministry officials believe the edtech companies are facing a dearth of funding for scaling up, a move that has been so much necessitated by the current Covid-19 pandemic. The Ministry proceeds on the assumption that such companies’ infrastructure was simply not ready to embrace a 100% growth in user base which occurred between January and April. The services confirm the lack of private investment.

The officials suggested that subsidies come from the Digital Technologies federal project. Small companies would receive $270+K in subsidy, while sector leaders would be eligible for up to $4m. Private co-funding should account for at least 20% of a total.

The Russian IT Development Fund, the Skolkovo Foundation, Russian Venture Company and the Innovation Support Fund would be expected to select services for participation in the subsidy program.

There are adversaries to the initiative, though. The federal Ministry of Finance, for one, is said to argue that under the current selection criteria, entertainment and gaming services might be listed as eligible for subsidies instead of truly educational ones.

Meanwhile, a growing body of international evidence (in English) is reported to show that in some instances, online education is not all it’s cracked up to be.

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