In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted many of the shortcomings in South Africa’s education system, particularly as it pertained to generating the right technology skills. Hoping to address part of those shortcomings is Naspers, which recently announced a R45 million investment in local online learning platform The Student Hub.
The latest announcement is the fourth made under the Naspers Foundry, which seeks to find early tech investments to help nurture and grow. The aforementioned R45 million also makes it R200 million in total investments by the Naspers Foundry since launching in 2019.
As for The Student Hub, for those unfamiliar with the platform, it increases access to vocational education to large numbers of students whilst reducing the costs of delivery of education and training.
It also helps overcome the constraints of limited physical infrastructure and related resources by partnering with government-accredited Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges to help them deliver their courses online, which speaks directly to some of the hurdles that COVID-19 has highlighted for the local education industry.
“We believe tech companies have the potential to be the cornerstone of South Africa’s economic growth and we want to play a role in unlocking that potential. Our investment in The Student Hub is an example of how digitalisation has the potential to address unequal access to education, create local opportunities, and enable increased participation towards a more inclusive economy,” noted Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, South African CEO of Naspers.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Naspers given their deep international experience in the edtech sector. We are a technology company that believes that improving access to education to millions of students across South Africa is at the core of what we do. Linking graduates with the right economic opportunities that relates to their skills are what the economy needs right now,” added Hertzy Kabeya, founder and CEO of The Student Hub.
With such a sizeable investment in hand, it will be interesting to see how the platform puts the money to use, as well as how TVET colleges will better align their courses for online learning as a result.