Study can now also start in June

2015-05-06 09:31

UCT has announced it will offer a mid-year intake in its online advanced diploma.

This has been made possible through its “Across Africa” partnership with leading online education company GetSmarter.

The partnership successfully launched its first online advanced diploma in business project management and a postgraduate diploma in management in marketing in February.

Strong demand for these diplomas resulted in applicant numbers far exceeding targets, attracting more than 1500 applications, leading to 460 enrolments.

To meet this demand, UCT has announced that it will be launching a mid-year intake of students for the advanced diploma in business project management. This extra programme starts in June.

Flexible accessAcross Africa MD Jacques Rousseau says a benefit of online education is its flexibility: “You can study when and where you like, so long as you complete tasks on time.”

“With a mid-year intake for the advanced diploma, we increase that flexibility further. Some working professionals might find that their workflow suits a February start, but for others, that might be the busiest time of their year. They would now be able to start the course in June instead,” he says.

GetSmarter CMO Ryan O’Mahoney says online education is clearly filling a gap in professional education.

“15% of South Africa’s school leavers were accommodated at tertiary education institutions last year, which means over 2 million South Africans aged between 18 and 24 are not currently enrolled in tertiary education,” he says.

Only 1.7% of our population completes a university education, he says.

Now, with postgraduate programmes being offered online, students can access quality, top-tier education from one of Africa’s leading universities.

Access to postgraduate programmes is also often hampered by prospective students not having completed bachelors degrees.

However, Across Africa offers a solution to this in the form of an online recognition of prior learning (RPL) course. This involves a two-week assessment of readiness for postgraduate study, and is offered cheaply to students who do not have a tertiary qualification.

Online opportunityMore than 400 students are currently enrolled in UCT’s first online postgraduate qualifications. Although the course work is presented online through GetSmarter’s virtual learning environment, postgraduate students have access to all of UCT’s resources such as the computer labs and online libraries.

Rob Paddock, chief academic officer at GetSmarter, says it’s encouraging to see so many universities responding to this opportunity and actively exploring the provision of online and distance education programmes.

“I probably receive one call a week from a new institution looking for advice on how to start offering online programmes. I think this is hugely positive, and a great indication of the growth we can expect in the online education market over the next 10 years in South Africa,” he says.

Learn, unlearn, relearnSam Paddock, CEO of GetSmarter, has a vision for the future of online learning in South Africa.

“Today’s fast-paced, ever-changing workplace is hyper competitive. For previous generations of workers, university programmes would set them up for a successful life-long career,” Paddock says, adding that “today’s knowledge workers have no such luxury. The challenge – or opportunity – for today’s working professional is to learn, unlearn and relearn throughout their working lives to advance their careers and create a better life for themselves and their families”.


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