Profit-making idea: Educational institutions for the 2020s, not the 1960s

Profit-making idea is a series of short posts, each with a piece of information that we think you might find useful: for investment, for growing your company or to start a new business. Read our previous posts here.

How We Made It In Africa asked Edmund Olotu, CEO of Nigeran fintech company TechAdvance, to identify one untapped business opportunity in Africa. Here was his response:

“I see a huge opportunity in education. The entire spectrum. Especially designing curricula that meet the new global world order. In Nigeria, our traditional schools are still educating our children for the 1960s, not the 2020s. Our university graduates are barely employable.

“There is room (and a need) for more alternative forms of education. If we (employers and other stakeholders) change the dynamics of demand for graduates we can change the system. Instead of hiring based on degrees from traditional universities, we can instead think, ‘What do we, as employers, need from graduates and hire for those particular skills.’

“Certain professions will still have to be taught from the confines of a traditional institution, like medicine, engineering, etc., but frankly, all social science, IT and liberal arts education are better taught by alternative schools who are more in touch with the skills and needs modern businesses look out for.

“Some of these alternative schools are beginning to pop up all across Nigeria. One was founded by one of my favourite Nigerian entrepreneurs, Gossy Ukanwoke – Beni American University (BAU). Gossy’s story is all over the interwebs so I need not regurgitate it. But at 24 years old, he decided to take on the Nigerian educational system by innovating around it. BAU teaches a host of management and leadership courses in both physical and virtual classrooms.

“Another is a Univelcity by Joseph Agunbiade that he set up to teach user experience. Imagine if he teams up with Tosin Oshinowo of cmDesign Atelier to expand user experience education to also include curricula in architecture and human-centred design.

“There is also by Ayobami Oladejo that is set up to teach data science. Perhaps as an addition to data science which deals with numbers they can also include accounting, audit and other financial management courses.

“The work that Ized Uanikhehi’s Digiclan is doing can be extended to secondary school graduates and can also incorporate traditional marketing education, in addition to digital marketing.

“In order for these nascent institutions to achieve scale, the private sector must be committed to recruiting graduates from these establishments without prejudice to a lack of conventional degrees from conventional Nigerian universities.”