Regenesys Business School’s Chairman, DR MARKO SARAVANJA believes the answer to the question of learning and self-enrichment in Africa lies in free education.
With over 650 million mobile subscribers in Africa, research indicates that Africans have more access to handsets than they do to bank accounts. Furthermore, it is estimated that over the past decade the total mobile user base on the continent has increased fortyfold from 16.5 million. The proliferation of smartphones has made access to information easier and more affordable.
We have partnered with telecommunications provider MTN, First Bank of Nigeria and Pearson Nigeria to offer open access to tertiary education via our ‚’Freemium’ model a model which exists in South Africa and India. The model essentially provides anyone full access to Regenesys’ intellectual property at no cost. Should the student decide to obtain an accredited qualification, options exist within the model for students to submit assignments, write examinations or attend classes, which is a paid for service.
The programme not only encourages education in vital technical and financial skills (serving the recruitment needs of the partners), but has also ensured that the learning material available is sensitive to Nigeria’s cultural nuances thereby making the comprehension process all the more fluid.
An effort of this nature has the capacity to make a significant mark on the local education landscape in a country with 110 million active subscribers.
Although there are marked differences between Nigeria and South Africa’s knowledge landscape, the effective deployment of teachers in rural areas and equipping students with study materials are common challenges. Access to free education online could quickly and effectively resolve these issues.
Using online facilities such as free learning material, tutoring videos, study guides, eBooks, webinars, academic articles and e-learning technical support, Regenesys, MTN and First Bank of Nigeria are enabling open access to tertiary education in remote and impoverished areas.
Furthermore, the programmes have the capacity to give students access to the best lecturers, teachers and study material in environments lacking basic facilities or trained staff.
It is in this environment where great opportunities exist for government, learning institutions and corporates alike to begin offering education and study course material to users at no cost via e-learning platforms.
With access to free education, impoverished individuals are afforded an equal opportunity to better themselves. Although institutions of learning may continue to charge a fee to award recognised qualifications, it would be in the best interests of the very establishments that continue to champion costly education to simply share knowledge free of charge, which will assist with skills transfer and human development.
Despite the obvious benefits, there are still several obstacles hindering the progress of free online education and one such stumbling block is the emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MOOCs have left a sour taste in the mouths of many who have tried to gain personal enrichment from free education. These offerings, primarily facilitated by recognised tertiary institutions, allow users access to only a portion of the course material in the hopes that they will formally register and pay significant tutelage fees.
To achieve access for all, we recently took the decision to offer all coursework at no cost. A close partnership with Pearson Books has enabled Regenesys Business School to equip all students with the necessary learning material to truly gain personal enrichment and understanding. Although a charge is set for the awarding of formal qualifications, anyone may access the full breadth of the programmes.
In doing so, Regenesys has pioneered free online education globally. As the e-learning environment continues to evolve, we truly believe that those who choose not to embrace a new approach will be left behind.
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A career in data science – or your money back
The Explore Data Science Academy is offering high demand skills courses – and guarantees employment for trainees
The Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA) has announced several new courses in 2020 that it says will radically change the shape of data science education in South Africa.
Comprising Data Science, Data Engineering, Data Analytics and Machine Learning, each six-month course provides vital digital skills that are in high demand in the market place. The full time, fully immersive courses each cost R60 000 including VAT.
The courses are differentiated from any other available by the fact that EDSA has introduced a money back promise if it cannot place the candidate in a job within six months of graduation and at a minimum annual starting salary of R240 000.
“For South Africans with drive and aptitude, this is the perfect opportunity to launch a career in what has been called the sexiest career of the 21stcentury,” says Explore founder Shaun Dippnall.
Dippnall and his team are betting on the explosive demand for data science skills locally and globally.
“There is a massive supply-demand gap in the area of data science and our universities and colleges are struggling to keep up with the rapid growth and changing nature of specific digital skills being demanded by companies.
“We are offering specifically a work ready opportunity in a highly skills deficient sector, and one which guarantees employment thereafter.”
The latter is particularly pertinent to young South Africans – a segment which currently faces a 30 percent unemployment rate.
“If you have skills in either Data Science, Data Engineering, Data Analytics or Machine Learning, you will find work locally, even globally. We’re confident of that,” says Dippnall.
EDSA is part of the larger Explore organisation and has for the past two years offered young people an opportunity to be trained as data scientists and embark on careers in a fast-growing sector of the economy.
In its first year of operation, EDSA trained 100 learners as data scientists in a fully sponsored, full-time 12-month course. In year two, this number increased to 400.
“Because we are connected with hundreds of employers and have an excellent understanding of the skills they need, our current placement rate is over 90 percent of the students we’ve taught,” Dippnall says. “These learners can earn an average of R360 000 annually, hence our offer of your money back if there is no employment at a minimum annual salary of R240k within six months.
“With one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world – recently announced as a national emergency by the President – it is important that institutions teach skills that are in demand and where learners can earn a healthy living afterwards.”
There are qualifying criteria, however. Candidates need to live in close proximity (within one hour commuting distance), or be prepared to live, in either Johannesburg or Cape Town, and need to be between the ages of 18 and 55.
“Our application process is very tough. We’ll test for aptitude and attitude using the qualifying framework we’ve built over the years. If you’re smart enough, you’ll be accepted,” says Dippnall.
To find out more, visit http://www.explore-datascience.net.
Triggerfish launches free digital learning Academy online
Platform designed for anyone wanting to understand more about career opportunities in animation.
Triggerfish, in partnership with Goethe-Institut and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, has launched Triggerfish Academy, a free digital learning platform for anyone wanting to understand more about the career opportunities and how to get started in the field of animation.
The website features 25 free video tutorials, quizzes and animation exercises introducing animation as a career and the principles of storytelling, storyboarding and animation, as well as several additional resources to help guide aspiring animators into a career in animation.
“The South African animation industry is growing – and so is the demand for skilled animators globally,” said Noemie Njangiru, head of Culture and Development at Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, pointing to the success of recent Triggerfish projects like the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes; Mama K’s Team 4, recently announced by Netflix as their first original animated series from Africa; and this year’s New York Children’s Festival and Shanghai International Film and TV Festival winner Zog.
Njangiru also highlighted the opportunities for animation outside the traditional film industry, within fields like advertising, app and web design, architecture, engineering, gaming, industrial design, medicine, and the motor industry, not to mention growth sectors like augmented reality and virtual reality.
The course was created by Tim Argall, currently the animation director on Triggerfish’s third feature film, Seal Team. He’s roped in many of the South African animation industry’s brightest stars, from Malcolm Wope, character designer on Mama K’s Team 4, and Annike Pienaar, now working at Illumination in Paris on Sing 2, to Daniel Snaddon, co-director of the multi-award-winning BBC adaptations Stick Man and Zog, and Faghrie Coenraad, lead dressing and finaling artist on the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes, as well as Triggerfish head of production Mike Buckland. The featured talent share not just their skills but also their stories, from how they broke the news they wanted to be animators to their parents, to common myths about the animation industry.
“As kids, animation is part of our lives, so we don’t really think about the idea that animation is actually somebody’s job,” said Argall. “When I was a kid, I loved animation and I loved to draw. I remember when I was about 12, I thought: ‘I really want to see my drawings come to life. I want to be an animator.’ But I had no idea where to even begin.”
Triggerfish Academy is his attempt to make it easier for the next generation of African animators: an accessible starter kit for anyone considering a career in animation.
“By the end of working through this course, you’ll have all the background you need to know whether animation is a good choice for your career,” said Njangiru.
Aspiring animators can also use Triggerfish Academyto learn how to write and animate their own short story, then post their animation on the Academy’s Facebook group for feedback and advice from professional animators.
Triggerfish Academy is set up so that youth can play with it directly, but it’s also been designed to double as an activity plan for teachers, NGOs and after school programmes to use. Schools, organisations and other animation studios who are interested in using it can contact Triggerfish for additional free classroom resources.
Triggerfish Academy is just one of a number of Triggerfish initiatives to train and diversify the next generation of African animators, like sponsoring bursaries to The Animation School; the Mama K’s Team 4 Writers Lab with Netflix; the pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab, supported by The Walt Disney Company and the Department of Trade and Industry; Animate Africa webinars; Draw For Life; and the Triggerfish Foundation schools outreach programme. For more information, visit www.triggerfish.com/academy.