Gossy Chapter 3: Gaining New Grounds in e-Learning and Distance Education
I have spent the last five years of my life working to solve one problem — how to get all young Africans to school. But getting all young Africans to school is a huge task and over time I have focused more on how to get young Africans to pursue Higher Education.
In 2010, I started the Students Circle Network with the aim of providing university students in Africa access to high-quality undergraduate content. The Students Circle Network reached over 300,000 students in 2 years, but that did not even begin to scratch the surface of the larger need. Many of the students wanted more from their learning, and they wanted degrees to show how much they had mastered. These students needed jobs and they needed the credentials and certificates to apply to get those jobs. It was this challenge that birthed the idea to create an online university that provides access to higher education learning to the millions of students that needed it. In addition, students could get the certificates they needed for the jobs they wanted. This journey led to the establishment of a physical campus — Beni American University, as well as investments in other institutions of higher learning across Nigeria.
Through this experience, I myself have come to learn a lot of things. I have learned how truly big this problem of access to quality education is across the continent. Even with the current institutions that we have — Beni American University (for undergraduate students) and BAU Executive (for graduate students and professionals), we have only managed to reach less than 1% of the demand for education on the continent. That to me is still barely scratching the surface.
Nigeria’s population is young and vibrant. A good number of the population is aged 0– 24 years. However, the country does not have enough universities or other institutions of higher learning for its large youth population. According to this WES Report, only about 30% of the nearly 2 million students that try to get into our institutions of higher learning are able to be admitted due to infrastructure deficit. This now has a huge impact on the quality of learning students receive.
It is my strong opinion that public and private institutions need to take their classrooms online to create synergy across institutions, to focus on disseminating quality content across borders and to grant wider access to as many students as possible. My desire is to give more people access to education and I align myself with institutions with a similar vision, institutions like EduTech. EduTech is an Education Technology Company focused on helping African traditional universities take their on-campus degree programs online through the implementation of the very best of technology, process management, recruitment, admissions and advisory. In January 2017 I took the role of President at EduTech, because it connects with my personal vision of getting people to learn and it provides the Technology, Content, Distribution, Advisory and Support for institutions to grow their capacity.
Since its establishment, EduTech has broken many frontiers — prominent of which is the launch of the 1st e-Learning MBA in Nigeria. Other programmes include the first e-Learning B.Sc. Nursing Programme in Nigeria, where registered nurses build on their existing qualifications for knowledge and professional growth. EduTech currently has two of the top three Universities in Nigeria as clients, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ahmadu Bello University, reaching thousands of students in its undergraduate and graduate programmes.
The Parent Company: EduTech Nigeria is a member of the Venture Garden Group (VGG), a high growth group of financial technology companies that provide innovative, data-driven, end-to-end technology platforms addressing reconciliation and payment processing inefficiencies across multiple sectors of the African economy. Since inception in 2010, VGG has successfully built five strategic business units across different sectors in Nigeria and Ghana at an average 400% YoY growth. The Company was capitalized with $16m by a South African fund backed by the IFC and World Bank in 2015 at a $68m valuation and is on track to scaling to a $100m in revenue by 2020, expanding from two (2) to six (6) countries across Africa.
There’s still a long road ahead on this journey to empowering African students with easier access to higher education. Thankfully, I am not tired yet. Building this kind of disruptive business in Nigeria is challenging, let alone in Africa. But my vision for education in Africa is clear and I will continue to support and collaborate with organisations and institutions that are breaking new grounds in a way that is relevant, increases access and improves on quality.
BAU will continue the development of its campus, growth and educating the next generation of African leaders. BAU Executive will keep educating and upskilling professionals globally. My investments in other African institutions will continue. I hope that we can all do the little that we can to ensure we solve the problem of education and learning in Africa.
You can follow me on this journey through my social media platforms — Twitter / Facebook. I will share my posts here on topics around Higher Education, Technology, Human Capital Development and The Future of Africa.
Gossy is a Higher Education Investor, supporting access to Learning and Education for young people in under-served communities. He works with African institutions and governments on the development of policies to assist in creating better access, quality and relevance of learning in higher education institutions. He is the Founder, BAU R&D, Beni American Univeristy and President, EduTech.