Daystar University in Kenya has announced its partnership with OneUni to launch what is presumably the first smartphone based degree programmes in Africa. The programme will reportedly allow prospective students to acquire a degree without having to be in a physical school.
This development is laudable, as it shows that Africa is working hard to improve education as a tool for building an economically viable nation. While the app was built to reach even the remote parts of Kenya, other African countries can take a cue.
For instance, in Nigeria, securing admission into tertiary institutions of learning has become a herculean task. Per year, the number of admission seekers far outweigh the spaces in the universities. This has forced many to consider other alternatives like the polytechnics and the colleges of education, while some abandon the idea of a formal education altogether.
Easy accessibility to quality education would undoubtedly, afford recipients the requisite knowledge, which will, in turn, propel national and regional development. On this note, quite a number of people may be open to the idea of learning via their smartphones. Interestingly enough, mobile internet adoption is gradually finding its root in Nigeria.
According to the statistics by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the number of mobile internet users in Nigeria currently stands at 97.21 million. This has given a huge boost to the extension of the conventional classroom to the internet, giving rise to platforms such as the distance learning e-programmes. With the success of these e-learning platforms, perhaps, it is time more people were educated through their phones.
However, using the internet as a tool to education is not without its own challenges. According to the World Development Report (WDR) 2016, only 12% of Nigerians have access to broadband internet because of its rising cost. While this serves to dampen the prospect of using the internet to spread education in the country, the recent slash in the prices of mobile data by the telecommunication companies has renewed the hope of the crop of Nigerians that are awaiting this kind of opportunity.