DURBAN - Listed investment holding company Stadio Holdings is poised to change the landscape of higher education in the country by registering a multiversity to cater for a growing demand for tertiary education.
Stadio, which was spun off Curro Holding in 2017 and listed separately on the JSE, said it would submit its application to accredit and register Stadio Multiversity to authorities.
The group said it hoped to complete the process next June.
Chief executive Chris van der Merwe said the multiversity would initially accommodate 56000 students by 2026, but would grow to 100000 students in the long run.
Van der Merwe said it would accommodate all the courses currently offered through the different Stadio brands.
He said preparations for this expansion drive includes the implementation of Unit 4, a single view information technology platform which is currently being used by some of the world’s top universities.
”Unit 4 software programmes are engineered according to and aligned with the mindsets of the modern school leaver and should make Stadio Multiversity even more attractive for school leavers,” Van der Merwe said.
The group is currently engaging with the Department of Higher Education & Training and the Council on Higher Education in order to find the best way to establish the multiversity.
Van der Merwe said Stadio believed that the local tertiary market was sufficient for expansion, with the number of first year students at institutes of higher learning doubling from 557000 in 2000 to about 1.2million in 2016.
“Of this 1.2million, only 167408 students enrolled at private tertiary institutions.
"Private enrolments as a percentage of the total students in higher education in South Africa amounts to only 15percent against a global average of about 35percent, while many of the country’s 26public universities currently show a lack of infrastructure and the amount of state subsidies also has its limits,” he said.
Stadio expansion plans, he added, were also on track in the Western Cape by developing its first comprehensive campus in the 2019/2020 financial year, subject to building regulation processes, and will offer courses in various faculties.
He said Stadio had already identied a piece of land for a comprehensive campus in Gauteng for 3000 to 5000 students and the board is currently considering this opportunity.
Van der Merwe said from 2022 to 2030 the multiversity would become better known and established with the general public.
“By then, we shall have six solid faculties through which we can offer more than 100 qualications. These faculties will include Commerce, Management & Law, a Graduate School of Business, Creative Economies, Education & Humanities, Engineering & Information and a Faculty of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences,” he said. The group plans to take this model beyond the South African borders in the near future.
Stadio shares declined 1.47percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R3.35.