[Report] BAU: Working To Disrupt Education in Nigeria and Africa
Nigerians home and abroad have been stepping up to tackle developmental problems. We have seen the likes of Iroko partners, starting up with Nollywood love and raising $8 million USD recently. The drive by many tech entrepreneurs to use technology as a leverage to build business and proffer solution to problems is high.
Where Nollywoodlove is helping give more visibility to the popular Nollywood movies made in Nigeria, Gossy Ukanwoke a young Nigerian, also in Diaspora is stepping up his game. He is the brain behind Students circle the students base social network that has been undergoing some changes recently and providing networking and resources to students and institutions from all over the world. The service has seen a measure of success with folks from Sub-Saharan Africa showing great interest.
Picture – Gossy Ukanwoke, Speaking at a Future Trends Seminar at Girne American University
Gossy has been working on a solution that will ensure that with access to internet, more students here in Nigerian can have access to tertiary education. In the coming UME/JAMB, over 1.5million students would be sitting for the examination, while only 500,000 spaces are available. See what Gbenga Sesan recently shared;
What will happen to the remaining one million? Are we saying only 500,000 people will pass while 1,000,000 people will fail? Obviously not.
Gossy, in a email told me what Beni American University [BAU] online is working to achieve and how it fits into the picture I just painted above. “BAU is a forward looking African start up with the hopes of bringing quality education to every African youth, adult or teenager who has the willingness to gain a post secondary diploma or degree.” He continues: “Having seen measurable success with Students Circle Network (a free learning social network for students), with many students from the West African region hoping that they can gain certificates and diplomas by taking free courses on our network, We gave Beni American University a thought.”
How will BAU approach this problem of re-imagining education in Nigeria and Africa? They are building a 21st Century University with strong emphasis on technology, web 2.0 and entrepreneurship. A university that is not limited by time, location, age, gender, race, color or belief.
BAU is going to be creating a lot of leverage for it’s students. They will work closely with their students, upon graduation, on ideas that can be turned into real ventures. I see an incubator and accelerator there.
What am I seeing here? I can see a disruption happening in tertiary education if this idea flies. I pray it does. JAMB/UME will no longer be a barrier to many students. But there are other hurdles.
Before the product is finally released to the public, there is need for beta testers. There have been some testing of the program. The students who were used to test the platform live in regions were internet service is fast and very available. Here in Nigeria and some part of Africa, having reliable internet is tough. In the following weeks they’d be needing 20 testers.