With South African media reports claiming that space is limited at public tertiary education institutions, the reality facing many who have matriculated is that whilst their efforts may have earned university exemption, they may not necessarily have secured a place.
Given the challenges that are faced by individuals seeking to acquire tertiary education, particularly in terms of affordability and limited spaces available, eLearning or technology-driven distance education is increasing in popularity and is being taken more seriously across the continent.
To illustrate, the annual elearning Africa Conference, which brings together eLearning and ICT supported education and training professionals is scheduled for Kampala, Uganda in May 2014. According to its website, eLearning Africa 2013 in Windhoek, Namibia, attracted 1,480 education and training practitioners from 65 countries.
We present a list of credible service providers focused on education, including those that are associated with business or entrepreneurial skills development. These ventures feature on this list based on the strength of their online profiles, accreditation and range of courses available.
From South Africa NetLearn provides digital-based testing and training. The service provider is affiliated to several material developers to refine its offering, including Certiport, SkillSoft, Harvard Business School Publishing and Certified Business Professional (CBP). Its dedicated section on eLearning explains that content is delivered via multimedia platforms such as the Internet, intranet/extranet, audio or video tape, TV and CD. Its course profile is diverse and incorporates IT Skills, Desktop skills, Business, Legal Compliance and Federal Government Industry skills.
Described as one of the largest school and education resources in Nigeria, MySchool features a strong focus on social interaction and provides a forum for online discussion and educational resources. There are links to scholarship and tertiary institution information, as well as digital or distance education offerings such as Webstudent. The site also facilitates online classrooms which offer tuition in a number of different subjects
Beni American University Research & Development is an established learning provider for the Nigerian market. The company’s tagline is Reinventing learning in Africa, its core offering is based on service delivery via its key projects/models: Proposed BAU, BAU Online and Students Circle Network that are focused on employment and entrepreneurial development. The institution offers several online study programs, including entrepreneurship and innovation, leadership and management, digital journalism and global marketing, amongst others.
Based in South Africa, i-Learn endorses a blended education approach (one that incorporates both online and onsite instructor-led and online eLearning training methodologies). The company believes that as the market continues to embrace technology to digitise the learning experience, there is an increasing need to consider the merits of combining eLearning with instructor-led training workshops. It also offers language courses and management advises those entering the market to take up a second or third language.
Strictly speaking not an e-learning service provider on its own, rather M: lab involves the contribution of four entities including eMobilis, World Wide Web Foundation, the University of Nairobi and iHub. The reason for its inclusion in this list is because of the scale of the operation dedicated to the provision of education to a large market. The objective is to help build businesses in a knowledge economy. Its focus stretches beyond Kenya’s borders and covers Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Somalia and Southern Sudan. It is also closely linked to- and indicates strong support for the Kenya’s growing startup community. Training is offered via mobile, the Internet and other media.
As its name implies, eDegree is focused on higher education and learning programme ventures across Africa. The South African company’s value proposition is based on partnerships with both private and public institutions to support distance education students. One of the ways this is done is through the distribution of study packages from its virtual academic service, Open University to students. Communication with tertiary institutions is faciliated through eDegree, including examinations and relevant feedback.
* Image source: Shutterstock
Chris Tredger – Online Editor