As the furore around #feesmustfall and free education continues in South Africa, one social enterprise has come to the fore with a promising solution. eLearnAfrica launched its new online marketplace for education, making it easier for students throughout Africa to search for and enrol in hundreds of online courses, online degrees, and professional certifications from some of the best universities in the world.
eLearnAfrica is a social enterprise committed to increasing and expanding educational and employment opportunities throughout Africa through an innovative web portal that connects users of all educational levels to trusted third-party and collaboratively created content. eLearnAfrica’s mission is to make learning opportunities available to everyone through an easy-to-use website and mobile app. In addition, eLearnAfrica is highly intuitive with a content discovery solution that delivers personalized recommendations tailored to each user’s preferences.
eLearnAfrica has partnered with online course providers to make available courses from some of the best universities in the world. These courses use video and other online resources, and students take a short test to progress to the next class. Most of these courses can be taken for free, and some courses also offer a verified certificate of completion (with a modest administration fee).
eLearnAfrica works with both edX and FutureLearn to offer a huge variety of courses to its primarily African audience. EdX, the nonprofit online learning destination founded by Harvard University and MIT, offers hundreds of courses from the world’s top institutions, such as top-ranked Wharton Business School, the University of California, Berkeley and more.
“We are delighted to collaborate with eLearnAfrica,” said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO and MIT Professor. “We are deeply committed to edX learners on the continent and have a partnership with The University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits), a first of its kind collaboration between a major MOOC provider and an African university. Our work with eLearnAfrica will help further the edX mission to increase access to high-quality education for learners in Africa and around the world.”
FutureLearn, the social learning platform wholly owned by the Open University, offers over 4.5 million learners access to free online courses from world-leading UK and international universities, centres of research excellence and specialist education providers like the British Council, Creative Skillset, and European Space Agency.
Nigel Smith, Head of Content at FutureLearn, commented on the partnership: “We’re very pleased to be one of the launch partners for eLearnAfrica. Although we are UK-based, 70% of our learners are based in countries outside the UK and with our mission to pioneer the best social learning experience for everyone, anywhere, eLearnAfrica is a great partner for us.”
He continued, “With 8% of our current learners based in Africa, there is clearly an existing appetite for free, high quality education from reliable and trustworthy sources but also huge potential for growth. We offer a vast array of professional development courses that can increase employability or help learners to start their own businesses, while our general interest courses provide something for everyone with lifelong learning ambitions. And of course, through our social learning platform, all our courses offer an element of experience of studying abroad with different cultures without the expense of leaving the country. We have no doubt that eLearnAfrica will be both popular and successful and we look forward to working with their team to reach more learners on the African continent.”
To make sure that Africans can take video-based professional certification programs, eLearnAfrica has joined hands with industry leader itSM Mentor, which has over 1400 classes in close to 175 specialized areas. Students can quickly become certified by mastering Microsoft Office, learn accounting, project management, or information technologies.
Students interested in earning a degree online, can find Associates and Bachelors programmes in Business Administration, Computer Science and Health Science and even a Masters programme in Business Administration from the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, US-accredited online university, University of the People (UoPeople).
CEO of eLearnAfrica, Brook Negussie, said the portal is set to become Africa’s trusted source for open education. Negussie, who is known for his work in providing internet access for schoolchildren across Africa, added: “As an educational platform, eLearnAfrica offers opportunities to African students at every stage of higher education and career development, with courses from the world’s best universities, including full degrees, vocational training, and industry-standard professional certifications. We set out to combine local knowledge with long-term global expertise through partnerships and academic excellence, to bring the best in the world to Africa in one easily accessible marketplace.”