Sim Shagaya, the founder of uLesson, an edtech startup, has announced that they’ve been granted an online university license by the National Universities Commission (NUC). This is in line with uLesson’s plan to expand beyond K-12 into providing open-distance tertiary education.
The online university, now called Miva Open University, will commence offering degrees in computing and management courses —Computer Science, Software Engineering, Accounting, Economics, Business Management, Public Policy & Administration, Data Science and Cybersecurity — before expanding to other fields.
According to Shagaya’s tweet, their launch into the tertiary education sector is timely as the need for effective affordable tertiary education is as acute as ever. He further reiterates their commitment to pushing the boundaries of accessibility, affordability, efficacy, convenience and innovation.
Shagaya has always been vocal about his commitment to providing holistic education, but unlike the K-12 model which only provides locally relevant content to supplement regular school lessons, uLesson is now offering fully-licensed degrees with Miva.
According to Shagaya who has been leading uLesson since 2019, his vision for uLesson is to make it the largest platform collating the best media, education, and technology tools to transform education outcomes in Africa. “Years from now, I want to hear uLesson users talk about how we fundamentally shifted their attitudes to learning and inspired them to follow pursuits that they would have otherwise not done because we opened their eyes to new possibilities,” he shared.
Only about one in four people who apply to university in Nigeria every year will get a spot. For those who do, the university experience is characterised by outdated curriculums, low teacher-to-student ratio, and poor infrastructural facilities, among other things. This has made it imperative for young people looking to go into fields like tech to find education from other sources, most commonly online platforms.
uLesson—the biggest and most capitalised edtech startup in the country—has managed to win the trust and support of parents and teachers with over two million app downloads. Shagaya is looking to bring all that they’ve learned serving K-12 learners to the tertiary level. There is a growing demand for talent with tech skills like data science, software engineering, and cybersecurity, and Miva Open University will fill in this gap by providing young Africans with the training and certification required.
“Our mission is to provide accessible, high-quality education that helps our students succeed in the digital marketplace,” Shagaya said.
One of their competitors on this journey will be AltSchool Africa, another Nigerian edtech offering diplomas in computing courses like software engineering and data science after a year-long study. It raised $1 million in 2022 to scale its efforts.