Education doesn't have to be a debt sentence: iLIVE

23 October 2015 - 12:51
By Sarah Vanunu

University of the People is the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited online university dedicated to opening access to higher education globally.

University of the People (“UoPeople”) president and founder Shai Reshef is calling for South African leaders to bring higher education over the internet to meet the massive demand from its burgeoning youth population.

The university is seeing a significant increase in the number of South African students applying and enrolling.

The University offers Associate and Bachelor degree programs in Business Administration and Computer Science and is currently in the process of developing new Health Science and MBA degrees. Students only pay for exam processing fees of $100, meaning that a student can study towards an accredited Bachelor’s Degree for as little as $4,000. For those who cannot afford these modest fees, and in line with the University’s mission to not leave behind any student for financial reasons, there are a wide range of scholarships available.

 “There is no need for the thousands of qualified high school graduates who will be left out of higher education this year to remain shut out,” says UoPeople President Shai Reshef.

“The right to a quality education mustn’t be a matter of one’s geographical or financial situation; Access to education must be an equal and basic right for all, rather than a privilege for the few.”

University of the People is not only servicing all those currently constrained from attaining higher education, but perhaps even more important, it is building a model for governments and universities worldwide to emulate in order to educate even greater numbers of individuals in need.

“Online education can be provided at significantly less expense than traditional education and utilizing it can mean the difference for millions of individuals to successfully attain education or remain shut out of education, as is the status quo,” says Professor Barry Dwolatzky, Director and CEO of Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits Universityand a 2013 recipient of the South African IT Personality of the year award.  Dwolatzky, a strong proponent of digital technology and information in South Africa, sits on University of the People’s Advisory Board for Computer Science.

University of the People is changing the way online learning is perceived through international accreditation, alliances with prestigious educational institutions, such as Yale University for research and New York University (NYU) for accepting students, and partnerships with global corporations (such as Hewlett-Packard for internships and Microsoft for scholarships, mentoring, internships and employment opportunities). To date, the university has enrolled students from over 170 countries.

Shai Reshef’s TED Talk has reached over 2 million viewers, making it one of the highest viewed TED Talks on Education.