Morgan Stanley
  • Thoughts on the Market Podcast
  • Nov 28, 2023

How Education Companies Can Benefit from AI


Welcome to Thoughts on the Market. I'm Brenda Duverce from the Morgan Stanley Sustainability Research Team. Along with my colleagues bringing you a variety of perspectives. Today I'll discuss the potential impact of generative AI on the global education market. It's Tuesday, November 28th at 10 a.m. in New York.

When ChatGPT was first introduced, it disrupted the education system with the threat of plagiarism and misinformation, and some school systems have banned it. Some companies in the educational technology space were initially affected by this, but have since recovered as the risks have become clearer. Still, investors appear to be overly focused on the risks GenAI poses to education companies, missing the potential upside GenAI can unlock.

From a sustainability perspective, we view GenAI as an opportunity to drive improvements to society in general, with education being one core use case. We would highlight two areas where GenAI will be key. One, in improving the overall education experience and two, in helping to reskill or upskill an evolving workforce.

Starting with the quality of the education experience, GenAI has the potential to transform learning and teaching, from automating tasks with chatbots to creating adaptive learning solutions. Applications such as auto grading, large language model based tutors and retention management can drive efficiencies and increase productivity.

We see efficiencies driving $200 billion of value creation and education over the next three years. In the fragmented education market, we expect lower costs to flow through to prices as companies pass along cost savings to maximize volumes.

The second key area that we highlight from a sustainability angle is the reskilling and upskilling of the workforce. We think the market may be under appreciating the role education companies can have in this respect. Many fear that GenAI would lead to substantial job losses in various areas of the economy, and the market sometimes assumes that job loss leads to permanent displacement of workers long term. But we argue this isn't necessarily true. Workers typically re-enter the labor force with an updated skill set.

Take, for instance, the introduction of ATMs and the concerns that ATMs would replace bank tellers and lead to significant job loss. This didn't prove to be the case. Over time, there were fewer tellers per bank branch, but the overall number of tellers continued to rise. Furthermore, the bank teller role evolved as customers sought a better experience and bank tellers responded by reskilling. Another example of this type of disruption was the introduction of the spreadsheet in the accounting industry. Many argued that spreadsheets would replace accounting jobs. However, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates the opposite, the number of accountants and financial managers rose significantly.

When it comes to reskilling or upskilling workers impacted by GenAI, we think this could cost somewhere around $16 billion within the next three years.

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Investors in the education sector have focused on threats from generative AI, but may be missing the potential for greater efficiency and new opportunities in workforce reskilling.