Governments could become obsolete in the future as advancements in technology increasingly enabled players in the education environment to stretch their limits of creativity, according to Marko Saravanja, the chairman of Regenesys Business School.
E-learning initiatives are gaining popularity and contact-learning is becoming an option rather than the only method of transferring education to individuals.
E-learning had many advantages. “You don’t have to invest in buildings. There are no boundaries, so many options are opening,” Saravanja said last week.
Bandwidth was improving and technology was becoming cheaper.
“There’s no reason why we can’t put the Grade 12 curriculum on an application online... you can take the best lecture, put it online and instantly lift the standard,” he said.
But education in South Africa continued to be dominated and needed to be more liberalised, Saravanja added.
Most of the local universities across the country were funded by the government.
Saravanja was speaking soon after the launch of a free e-learning initiative Regenesys is offering in India.
It offers business courses to entrepreneurs and other individuals who are not able to afford the programme at formal tertiary institutions.
The same programme, based on the Freemium model, was launched in South Africa six months ago and was already gaining popularity, according to Saravanja.
Two years ago the institution realised the opportunity of opening its knowledge to the public but it had been preparing for seven years to offer e-learning opportunities.
Freemium is a business model that is offered via a proprietary technology or service for free. It is a portmanteau word combing two aspects of the business model – free and premium.
“There’s a spiritual perception that when you give something for free unconditionally, you receive abundantly,” he said.
Saravanja added: “It doesn’t cost us anything to open up an online learning facility.
“You just need to have robust technology.”
Much of the investment is spent on obtaining accreditation. The company has spent R50 million to improve its online connectivity and about R10m on a foundation that will be tasked with sourcing funds for bursaries and spreading free education in other English-speaking countries across the world.
Regenesys is canvassing top local business leaders to join the board of trustees.
Applicants are able to access any of the Regenesys courses but are required to pay if they want accreditation.
In Nigeria, the company has enlisted the partnership of several industry leaders to make this concept sustainable.
It has partnered with MTN Nigeria, which will gain by having a new market in which to sell devices and connectivity.
First Bank of Nigeria will provide loans to students who seek accreditation.
Regenesys has also enlisted publisher Pearson Nigeria to offer its textbooks free online.
The online facilities allow free learning materials, tutoring videos, study guides, e-books, webinars and academic articles to reach students in remote areas.
But the emergence of massive open online courses – or Moocs – challenges the widespread adoption of the Regenesys offer. These programmes allow users access to some of the courses available to tertiary students and there is a possibility that Regenesys may be perceived in the same vein, according to Saravanja.