How technology brings higher education within reach during COVID-19

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Earlier this year, the founder and CEO of The Student Hub, Hertzy Kabeya, spoke to Michael Avery, anchor for BusinessDay TV's Covid-19 Business Watch, about how the ed-tech sector has been accelerated by the pandemic and what the sector could look like in a post-pandemic world. Joining Hertzy and Michael in the discussion was Ashutosh Sharma, head of Prosus Ventures in India, Wesley Lynch, CEO and founder of Snapplify, and Kerry Fynn, CEO of independent advisory firm AlphaWealth.

In November last year, The Student Hub received a R45 million injection from Naspers Foundry. The Foundry is a South Africa-focused R1.4 billion early-stage business funding vehicle that backs technology companies with high growth potential that address societal needs.

As Kabeya explained, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology in facilitating and improving access to education and had been a "wake-up call" for many higher learning institutions.

The Student Hub is an online learning platform that facilitates undergraduate higher education by partnering with government accredited Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges in South Africa. It overcomes the admissions limitations of physical infrastructure and related resource constraints that higher education institutions are experiencing by offering two distinct business models to students and colleges: Distance Learning and Blended Learning.

Head of Foundry Fabian Whate said, "We back businesses that are a good fit in terms of using technology to improve people's lives and fall within Naspers's core business segments and beyond. A tech platform, such as The Student Hub, addresses a societal need, has huge growth potential and has shown traction, so naturally, we were interested in it."

Kabeya said its focus was to tap into the potential 2.5 million vocational students in South Africa. The Distance Learning module targeted the overflow of applicants that colleges cannot currently accept due to limited physical infrastructure. The Student Hub provides a cloud-controlled learning platform with on-demand tutors and also tracks student progress in real-time.

Blended Learning was aimed at students already physically accepted into colleges—and who still want the "campus" experience. It offers a "flipped classroom" model, delivering an online platform where the learning takes place.

The Student Hub uses the latest learning technology to equip students with the in-demand skills they need to qualify for the job they want. Watch the show here.

This post was written and supplied by Naspers.

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