Nigeria’s First Online University: Beni American University0
Nigeria’s first online university has been launched by Gossy Ukanwoke who has been nicknamed Nigeria’s Mark Zuckerberg. Called Beni American University, Gossy who is also the founder of the Students Circle Network, an academic social network for students, teachers and institutions that brings over 10,000 free academic resources from over 200 universities globally, and shares it free for students and teachers, said he foresaw it “as a way of clearing the logjam in Africa’s educational sector of its several challenges that avails just some number of Africans an opportunity to be literate hence the essence of his innovation”.
“We realised that there was just a couple of issues in the educational sector in Africa. We have universities but they are not enough in comparison to the youth population. We have universities but the infrastructure is a challenge and then the cost of setting up something new was also a challenge. We were also looking at something that we could easily accommodate as many people as possible without the constraint of location or space or resources, so online was the best alternative for us. With an online university, you can take in as many students as possible; you can get professors from across the world. We have professors who are in the US, we have professors in Malawi, and we have professors in England.”
Andrew Ebegore, already a registered student of the online university shared his experience as he tells how easy life is to study as he does his work during leisure, gets an opportunity to interact and above all schooling take place right in his living room.
“I actually do my school work at my leisure time not at my work time, it allows me to meet different people from around the world, I get to interact with students and lecturers and some seasoned lecturers from around the world, professors and all that. It’s good because I interact, I learn, I do everything and I don’t leave my house which makes it superb.”
A professor of Science and Technology in the University of Lagos, Duro Ajeyalemi, described it as “a laudable idea” which will bridge the gap in terms of challenges plaguing African youths but “right now the resources for successful running of the online university as it is not made available”.
“We do not have the resources enough to cope and many of our… because we have problems with infrastructure, electricity for example is not available in most places so we will need to have constant supply of electricity, we will need to have the computers and the technology for you to be able to benefit maximally.”
Gossy Ukanwoke believes that the high unemployment rate which has cut across the world and Africa especially can actually be brought to the low by entrepreneurship and empowerment which he and his team ensured is in the curriculum for those studying management courses in the university.
“There is a high level of unemployment across the world and one of the things that can actually deal with unemployment is entrepreneurship and empowerment, so what we are doing is even if you are studying Business Management in our university, you will still take our entrepreneurship program, even if you are studying medicine in our university, you will still take our entrepreneurship program so that you can learn how as a doctor or as an engineer or as a Home Economics graduate how you can actually start a business and become an employer of labour instead of being someone who is seeking for employment.”
Source: Channels TV Website