The sector of online learning is experiencing a boom worldwide, with more companies and institutions, competing for a piece of the pie. At the same time, newer and more efficient technologies are continuously being developed, with the purpose of widening access to online education and solving specific problems in e-learning.
UNICAF is a generous Scholarship Programme that partners with reputable institutions of Higher Education to provide affordable and quality online degree programmes to students in sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world. Among the plethora of online courses on offer today, those that stand out are the ones backed by the reputation and expertise of established Higher Education providers, like the universities UNICAF is in partnership with.
These include the University of South Wales in the UK, Marymount California University in the US, the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, and Unicaf University in Africa. In order to facilitate the provision of quality Higher Education to under privileged students, living away from the main hubs of educational excellence in Europe and the US, UNICAF has developed a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), which allows 24/7 access from any PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. The well thought out UNICAF VLE and other software utilise an Application Programming Interface (API) to connect all of UNICAF’s platforms, and create a personal account for every new student, once their registration process is complete.
Designed to offer much more than basic information, (like course study material, deadlines for assignments and exams, as well as teaching schedules), the UNICAF VLE allows tutors to upload videos, lecture notes or articles that can be useful to students. Additionally, an integrated messaging system and a chat forum let students contact tutors or fellow classmates whenever they need a clarification, an answer to a question, or even some reassurance. This constant exchange of data, ideas, advice, information and support makes UNICAF’s VLE stand out and minimises the risk of students dropping out from their course.
Students living in areas with an unreliable internet connection have the option of visiting one of UNICAF’s Information and Learning Centres (https://www.unicaf.org/information-centres/) found in various locations; there they have access to the internet, to computers and digital libraries, as well as assistance from trained personnel. The UNICAF VLE is also available to students of Unicaf University. The University employs a fully online and a blended learning approach, (part online and part on campus teaching), that proved to provide the best and most effective learning experience for students.
SA students graduate from SAP Skills for Africa programme
SAP Africa has announced the successful graduation of all 75 South African students from its SAP Skills for Africa job creation initiative. The South African chapter of the SAP Skills for Africa initiative was announced four months ago and forms an integral part of SAP Africa’s commitment to train ICT consultants across the continent.
The successful graduation today of all 75 South African students follows the first group of graduates from Kenya who completed the SAP Skills for Africa training certification in 2013 and 2014, as well as in Morocco in 2015.
The South African programme represents collaboration between SAP Africa and local SAP customers and partners, including Accenture, ATOS, Britehouse, BMW, Consnet, Gauteng Provincial Government, Multichoice, Tata Consulting Services, T-Systems and MICT SETA, all of whom share a unified mission to promote economic growth and sustainable job creation.
“We are committed to work with the private sector to increase the pool of ICT professionals who have the requisite skills to enable us to deliver high quality e-government services to the Gauteng City Region. This partnership represents an important step in the right direction for us as we move to train and empower half a million young people across our province over the next five years and achieve the objectives of Gauteng Tshepo 500 000, which is a bold employment and entrepreneurial programme of Premier David Makhura,” said Barbara Creecy, MEC for Treasury and E-Government.
A total of 19 graduates from the SAP Skills for Africa initiative joined the Department of E-Government as interns at the beginning of this month. They will spend the next 12 months working alongside the professional staff of the provincial government in the configuration, customisation and support activities of the SAP System functions in all departments.
“These students have been afforded a rare opportunity to kick-start long and fruitful careers in a global growth space. As an SAP partner and company that’s been fully immersed in the process, we are fortunate enough to snap up some of this talent. We’re excited by what the future holds and the impact these students will have on Britehouse and the industry. It won’t take long for these rising stars to become shining stars,” said Themba Chakela, General Manager, Group Organisational Effectiveness at Britehouse.
“The value of the SAP Skills for Africa programme is that every student who has successfully completed their studies will go on to internships with SAP partners and customers involved in the initiative,” says Brett Parker, Managing Director at SAP Africa.
“SAP is still committed to driving business right across Africa, with the ultimate objective of improving people’s lives through the deployment of innovative industry-specific software solutions. This is not possible without developing the right skills and creating the right jobs in the communities in which we do business,” he added.
The SAP Skills for Africa Scholarship Programme training takes place over a period of ten to twelve weeks and comprises a hybrid approach of classroom and e-learning fully-sponsored by SAP with no cost to the students. The course focuses on internationally recognised IT and business skills.
Digital skills academy to address IT skills shortfall in SA
KPMG South Africa has signed an industry partner agreement with international educator Digital Skills Academy, in a move set to boost high-end practical IT skills among South African participants.
Aiming to help address the local IT skills shortfall, particularly the lack of hands-on experience, the partnership will see participants studying for Digital Skills Academy’s International BSc Honours Degree in Digital Skills gaining real life experience through collaboration with the Johannesburg office of KPMG.
Participants will work with cross-functional international teams of coders, managers, marketers, sales professionals and designers on industry partner projects proposed by KPMG.
The agreement will support the development of digital products and services including the development of mobile apps, websites and web services, software development, digital marketing and social media campaigns or prototype development.
Paul Dunne, CEO and founder of the Digital Skills Academy, said: “The partnership with KPMG is the first of a number similar arrangements we will be announcing in South Africa and illustrates our desire to work alongside globally recognised corporate brands so that we are able to offer the very best in cutting edge experience to our degree participants. It is a reflection of all the great things happening at the moment in South Africa’s tech scene and we look forward to being a part of its continuing success by helping to internationalise the country’s offering.”
Heidi Volschenk, Partner at KPMG South Africa in Johannesburg, said: “We aim to develop skillsets in the digital space in tandem with the Digital Skills Academy team, in the context of both the professional services environment and in terms of the more general international trends in the digital technology and digital business sectors.”
Digital Skills Academy’s pioneering International BSc programme incorporates industry engagement with organisations like KPMG in order to offer participants the opportunity to work on real world projects and to produce industry-optimised graduates.
The degree programmes are primarily aimed at corporates who want to up-skill staff, people currently employed in other fields looking to secure positions in the digital technology sector, and graduates who are looking to improve their career prospects. While a handful of similarly pioneering ‘on campus’ degrees exist, the Digital Skills Academy programme is the first of its kind to employ online eLearning delivery, making it available globally.
The one year, part-time and online course – the International BSc (Honours) in Digital Technology, Design and Innovation – is accredited by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and facilitates work in international teams on real world projects via virtual platforms. With an emphasis on multidisciplinary teaching by respected industry leaders, participants have the opportunity to acquire a comprehensive understanding of modern digital business and in-demand digital technology skills.