Welcome to the Eureka Magazine.
We had an interesting conversation with a dynamic and energetic fellow who driving a major initiative to reshape education in Africa. He is the founder of Yadaversity that is focused on offering better learning options, processes, and alternatives. Mr. Oludare Akinlaja and his team at Yadaversity are set to shape the learning and education of Africa.
We hope you enjoy this interaction with him…
- It is nice to have you Mr. Oludare Akinlaja. Can you tell us about Yadaversity; the vision and mission you are running with.
Our Mission To build a globally recognized technical and vocational education training school developing human capital for the sustainable development of Africa.
Vision; Through project-based, research-driven, experiential and lifelong learning leveraging technology: Yadaversity is developing creatives and innovators that will position Africa as a knowledge-based economy.
- What peculiarity are you bringing into what we already have in the education sector; online education, free courses, and virtual learning platforms?
We are actually involved in transforming the dimension and style of education; most of the education styles we have is focused on training people to be workers not really to be creatives and innovators, So the idea is to make learning experiential and lifelong so individuals can apply themselves to society.
- What would you say is the solution to the myriad of challenges in Nigeria’s education sector and how will Yadaversity play a role in that?
The issue is we have had an awesome education system but it only worked for a while and we have to change it. In every developing society, systems evolve; we have new challenges and issues but in Nigeria, we have not learnt to evolve our systems. is bringing a new dimension to curriculum, teaching style and trying to break the myth of degrees and diplomas and just teach and train people with skills and knowledge to make them productive members of the society.
- When are you starting? What structures do you have in place, the curriculum and maybe your 5 years plan? Any established fees yet, etc?
We have started with Master Classes and have already signed on with industry partners to begin to deploy our curriculums, we already have Faculties a number of our courses and we would be starting our longer programs by May but we have already started our Master Classes. The plan is to have our Learning and Research Centre in 5years and expand our courses and streams to accommodate people. We hope to have at least 200,000 people go through our different learning programs in the next 5years.As for the fees we have fees for different courses depending on the length of time and the kind of courses.
- Have heard you speak of alternative learning; can you shed more light on that?
Alternative learning is nothing new really the conversations are actually ongoing in every place in the world. The idea is really to see how we can make learning more impactful. How we can bridge the gap between what people learn in schools and what they can apply to work, business and life in general.
- Any partnerships yet with any organization, government or multinationals yet?
Yes, we have partnerships with industry experts; We have to develop that partnership because of our desire for experiential learning so we really have a few industry partners, Like KrystalDigital Solutions, 360Creative Hub, Weedo group amongst others.
- I had this experience recently; I got a book to give people (3 copies of the same book). Before anyone could agree to accept this free gift of a book, it took hours. Some outrightly said no. Do you think Nigerians and Africans don’t read, do you have access to the ratio of those who do and don’t? How can we fix or improve on this?
It is the same challenge of the importance of learning. A lot of people are beginning to ask questions of how does all the knowledge I acquire give me economic benefit, how does it make me a better person. People are simply trying to create a link between knowledge and society. It is the simple frustration that our academic system has created people cannot understand its relationship. So, we need to make people see these relationships, understand the importance of practical knowledge and build credible learning platforms.
- Does Yadaversity have any plans for Research and Development endeavours?
Of course, we do we are actually receiving calls and interests from organizations who want to undertake research in our core areas of research interests which are Agriculture, Biotechnology and Renewable Energy.
- How can people partner with you on this project?
People can partner by sending their friends or themselves attending the schools. Loll!! or they can actually come in as partner organizations to produce funds and all as we drive the vision.
- Do you have any advice for millennials in Nigeria and Africa?
Stay true. Grow gradually and focus on the legacy and not on the accolades.