BY EMEKA AGINAM
Founder of Nigeria’s first private online university, Beni American University, Gossy Ukanwoke will be featured on CNN’s ‘African Start-Up’ series, which highlights Africa’s SME entrepreneurs.
Proudly called Nigeria’s Mark Zuckerburg. Like the Facebook founder, Ukanwoke started a social networking site when he was in school, and that sparked another big idea to create Nigeria’s first private online university.
Now the 25-year-old is in business with ten instructors and about two hundred students, as well as a long list of challenges he still needs to get through. It’s an ambitious journey filled with risks and rewards.
In the feature with ‘African Start-Up’ this week, Ukanwoke, said he was motivated by the response and audience he received when he created a social network called ‘Student Circle’ which sparked his big idea to create Nigeria’s first private online university.
Telling African story, he said that , “higher education is needed for the development of Africa; the Beni American University is referred to as American because we are building on an American curriculum and semesters. Basically, I think in global terms, not just Africa or Nigeria and my intentions are to develop a global standard university that promotes proper education.”
According to him, “Hopefully very soon we are going to see buildings and streetlights on this land with students and teachers going about their activities,” continues Ukanwonke.
The continuous advances in technology have helped encourage the introduction of different platforms of education, but Nigeria still requires schools to have a physical campus and that’s why Ukanwonke is making plans to build physical structures for B.A.U.
Beni American University presently offers courses in Journalism, Corporate Diplomacy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “We still have a long way to go, we have a lot of work to do, a lot of policy wrangling too, but it’s a work in progress and we are quite happy with where we are,” concludes Ukanwoke.