Wits to offer free online courses for Africans

South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand is now able to offer “massive open online courses” – known as MOOCs – to a global learning audience through its partnership with edX.

Wits is the latest to join the more than 60 global universities, colleges and institutions that make up edX’s distinguished academic body, which offer online courses to anyone, anywhere in the world with a desire to learn. (Image: Wits)

Brand South Africa Reporter 

South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand is now able to offer “massive open online courses” – known as MOOCs – to a global learning audience through its partnership with edX, a non-profit online learning provider founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University in the US.

While the total number of students pursuing higher education in Africa had tripled between 1991 and 2006, public investment in education had remained the same, Wits said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The edX and Wits partnership will help bridge this gap by delivering education opportunities to students on the continent and beyond,” Wits said.

The more than 200  000 learners edX already has in Africa will now be able to access free courses offered by Wits. They will receive an edX certificate on completion of the course.

‘Pioneering’

“This is a pioneering, innovative project spearheaded by Wits, which will indeed unlock new opportunities in South Africa and through the rest of the continent,” Prof Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University, said.

“We are still developing the course content but students from around the world will be able to access our international expertise in a range of fields ranging from economics and law to deep-level mining and the palaeosciences.”

Wits is the latest to join the more than 60 global universities, colleges and institutions that make up edX’s distinguished academic body, which offer online courses to anyone, anywhere in the world with a desire to learn.

Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, said that Wits, “a premier research institution”, was their first university partner in Africa.

“We look forward to collaborating to increase access to high-quality education for all, and especially for learners in South Africa and throughout the continent who are eager for new educational opportunities and to develop new skills.”

Wits courses (WitsX) will be open for enrollment on www.edx.org towards the end of 2015.

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