Home K12 and Higher Education Government Contracting Focus Areas for 2021

K12 and Higher Education Government Contracting Focus Areas for 2021

K12-Education-Focus Areas

In spite of a challenging year in 2020 for the state, local, and education institutions (SLED), there was a significant increase in the number of government contracting opportunities. Although the change to remote learning has been instituted, the shift has been inconsistent.   Inadequacies in learning, including disengagement from school, have impacted the overall knowledge, skills or behaviour development in K-12 education. 

However, in an effort to safely reopen and elevate education in schools the federal government has committed more than $200 billion in education funding over the next three years which is a significant increase over the approximately $750 billion spent annually on public schooling. These funding and developments in K-12 and higher education present excellent opportunities for government contractors to further their businesses. 

Here are some key areas to focus on for K-12 and Higher Education Government Contracting Opportunities:


Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning :

A growing number of educators and administrators in K-12 institutions are turning to technologies like artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality to provide a more immersive learning experience. AR/VR systems have the potential to either supplement or completely replace traditional classroom instruction.  

Providing real-time feedback and support to students is one of the most difficult challenges faculties encounter when implementing digital teaching methods. To counter this, US schools are increasingly using artificial intelligence and machine learning software applications like chatbots to operate as virtual personal assistants to answer users’ questions in real-time. Let’s Talk! Assistant is one such chatbot that is built exclusively for K-12 school districts to help provide always-on customer service, generate internal efficiencies, and improve the student experience.

Furthermore, AR/VR-based educational tools have the potential to revolutionise the way students of all ages and academic backgrounds learn and retain information. AR and VR are helping to create a more diverse and inclusive classroom by providing educational opportunities for children with a wide range of disabilities, including promising solutions for kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, or other learning difficulties.   

University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning and Department of Special Education are collaborating on Project VOISS (Virtual Reality Opportunities to Implement Social Skills), a Department of Education-funded programme that uses virtual reality experience for students with special needs to help them negotiate social settings at school.

It is predicted that by 2021, US education will see an increase in the percentage of classrooms utilising AI by 47.5%. According to a Gallup survey in 2019, 65% of US public school teachers claimed they used digital tools on a daily basis, while 13% use them occasionally—and 85% believe they will be “greatly valuable” in the future.  

According to a study conducted by McKinsey & Company, the students’ learning has been adversely affected because of the pandemic. Especially due to the lack of classroom teaching and cancellations of standardized tests last year. The AI-based exams, also known as AI-proctored tests, are currently being implemented in schools to conduct exams and tests remotely. It reduces the necessity of deploying onsite invigilators and creates a cheating-free environment.  

An abundance of businesses, vendors including consultants of all sizes, can look into helping K-12 districts grasp the gaps in attainment left by the current pandemic by providing  AR/VR technologies that can either supplement or completely replace traditional classroom instruction.

Contracting opportunities :

  1. Vendors providing creative solutions like AI software, e-books, augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) interactive content should look for government contracting opportunities to provide services to the government. 
  2. Companies focused on providing curriculum, and diagnostic assessments should assist government entities in integrating such technology into the education system.
  3. Companies developing AR/VR technology for students with learning disabilities can apply for grants from the Department of Education for developing and implementing such technology into a classroom setting.
 Student Experience K12 focus area

Enhancing Online Student Experience:

With the ongoing pandemic and its future impacts, educational institutions are trying to promote student life in a virtual world to provide services and attract people to enrol. As students enrol in fewer programmes due to disruption in education due to COVID-19,  adjust to meet these challenges with brand new business methods. Many parents aren’t sure if virtual learning is worthwhile for their children, while others don’t want their child’s first school experience to include a mask and social distancing.   

Higher education will have to supply its multitude of offerings online, including online registration, communities and tutoring. This includes utilising the flipped classroom approach and resources such as screen recording apps, virtual conference rooms, collaborative apps, and learning management systems to create a dynamic and interactive learning environment. Applications like Edmodo are currently aiding schools in creating a more enhanced learning experience by providing a social network and educational technology that connects teachers and students. Educators can build online collaborative groups, administrate and supply instructional resources, monitor student progress, and interact with parents using this tool.

Contracting opportunities :

  1. Companies providing online communities or collaborative applications can look into government contracting opportunities with schools to enhance learning experiences for students, including integration of communities with learning management systems (LMS)
  1. Companies providing e-learning aids to teachers can help schools to provide a seamless academic experience to students like class recording applications to implement flipped learning, online collaborative tools, interactive maps, multimedia presentations etc.
Education Technology K12 Focus area

Education Technology:

The K-12 education technology market is at a crucial turning point in terms of demand. 

US K-12 Education spent $35.8 billion on all things EdTech in 2020, which includes $7.5 billion more than in 2019. Necessary capital spending on EdTech and the CARES Act which allocated $30.75 billion to fund remote learning were the primary factors behind this recent rise in financial investments. 

Educational agencies at the state and local levels are altering their functions to incorporate remote learning. A survey conducted by Educators for Excellence in May 2020 among 600 public school teachers in the US reported that only 24% of their students had access to a computer or tablet to utilise for school work. The need for new infrastructure will likely increase operating costs and an entire line of hardware, software, and services that can assist in overcoming this task.

Moreover, the telecom and networking systems of K-12 schools need to be updated to meet the requirements of the evolving education landscape.

Contracting opportunities :

  1. Companies providing learning management systems (LMS), technology support systems, Course Management systems (CMS) should look into government contracting opportunities. Including online software for training teachers on modern learning technology and related pedagogical adjustments.
  1. Online learning and evaluation software will be in high demand. In 2020 total spending on digital curriculum was $13.1 billion, a rise of $2.1 billion over 2019. It includes digital textbooks, educational Apps, digital lesson plans, digital testing or assessment products and services, and any other digital learning content materials. Companies that provide distance learning solutions like software and hardware to K-12 and higher education should look into educational institutions to gain contracting opportunities with them.
  2. $7.2 billion for the E-rate program was COVID-19 relief package was signed by President Joe Biden to make it easier to connect student’s homes and school libraries to the internet. Telecom and networking companies can update the school network by forming partnerships with these institutions as well.
Health Facilities and Tool Kits K12 focus area

Health Facilities and Tool Kits:

The transfer of traditional counselling services on the Internet is only a small part of what’s needed to help students. In addition to COVID-19, student health and safety are threatened by several updates and other health risks. According to Burbio, a Pelham, N.Y., data service, more than 1,000 schools in 31 states have been forced to close since the beginning of the school year. 

Once the coronavirus outbreak is over, educational institutes will ensure that school facilities and buildings are safe, disease-free, and prepared to handle contamination. Moreover, CDC’s K-12 operational strategy requires all schools to implement preventative techniques and employ mask use and other distance-based protections which will give tremendous opportunities for contractors in the Healthcare sector.

Contracting opportunities :

  1. Government contracting possibilities should be sought out by companies delivering outsourced healthcare services like maintenance of electronic health records,  psychological counselling, waste management etc. 
  2. Decontamination equipment, mask and service suppliers can boost their businesses by securing government contracts, particularly school healthcare. 
  3. Vendors supplying PPE for students and school administrators can seek government opportunities as well.
Upgrading school infrastructure K12 focus area

Upgrading school infrastructure for strategic prevention :

The importance of air quality in schools has become more critical due to COVID-19 as it spreads quickly in poorly ventilated places. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), nearly one-third of schools needed to replace or update their ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems by June 2020. 

Furthermore, the catastrophes caused by the pandemic and record-breaking weather events have highlighted the inadequacies of school infrastructure. Natural calamities also have an impact on the school equipment, furniture and supplies. A year ago, the state of Oregon had to postpone school due to a record-breaking wildfire. In contrast, schools in Florida devastated by flooding brought on by Tropical Storm Eta had to return to online learning. 

To ensure the safe reopening of K-12 schools, the Biden-Harris administration provided  $130 billion in its American Rescue Plan funds
In addition to HVAC investments, there is a need for school bus electrification and clean energy. In the United States school buses make 90% of the country’s bus fleet, but roughly 1 % use electricity. In 2016, Blue Bird, a major bus manufacturing corporation located in Fort Valley, GA, was recently granted $4.4M by the Department of Energy to produce a zero-emissions, 100% V2G electric school bus. 

Contracting opportunities :

  1. Businesses can look into government contracting to equip schools with adequate health and hygiene infrastructure, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
  2. Companies that provide infrastructure upgrades, construction, school supplies and system improvements can procure for the same.
  3. Bus manufacturers providing zero-emission solutions can look into grants by government contracts with the Department of Energy for the electrification of school buses.

As the government looks forward to transforming the education system for long-term repair, reconstruction, and expansion, BidFortune can assist you in discovering, analysing and competing for government bids that matter to your business. Visit BidFortune for a free trial today!