Remote Classrooms to Improve Higher Learning in Africa

Unicaf University is an African institution founded in 2012 in Zambia with programs in fields like business, education and health care management. Offering degrees largely online, with some blended learning options, Unicaf reaches 18,000 students across the continent, many of them working adults. Unicaf offers the convenience of anytime, anywhere study — as long as the internet service is sufficient. Initially, Unicaf was essentially a distance-learning platform, taking courses offered by British and American universities, translating them to an online environment and marketing them to Africans. Partner institutions set admissions standards, approve hiring and determine whether students meet graduation requirements. The cost of a degree, about $4,000, is not cheap by African standards, but it is within reach of the region’s growing middle class, and many students receive scholarships. Ms. Kamizi, a former safety worker in a mine, got a full ride after she won a Unicaf-sponsored business competition with an idea for manufacturing low-cost sanitary napkins. Africa’s longstanding public universities have wrestled with the pressure to expand capacity without sacrificing quality, and not always successfully, said Jamil Salmi, a higher education consultant and former World Bank official from Morocco. Such universities have grown up, but they vary in caliber and can be costly. Going abroad to study is an option for only a select few.SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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