A recent chat with Gossy Ukanwoke, a 24-year old Nigerian who is the Founder of Beni American University, a forward looking hybrid university which hopes to bring quality education to every African youth, adult or teenager willing to study for a post secondary diploma or degree. He talks extensively on how the BAU team is building a 21st Century University with strong emphasis on technology, web 2.0 and entrepreneurship. Enjoy!
The idea was conceived through a thought process of finding a way to use technology to solve the problem of education in Nigeria. It became even more interesting to find out that I am not the only one who was concerned about the issue. I decided to bring all these people together to form a group of young Africans who are working towards this change. This movement birthed Beni American University.
2. What particularly inspired you to venture into education?
Knowing the importance of education and seeing the lack in West Africa was the main inspiration. There were other drops of serendipities which all summed up that education will be it for me.
3. What is BAU all about?
Beni American University is a full institution of higher learning currently providing degree programs in Business Management, International Business and Management Information Systems. We are planning on expanding our disciplines to include programs in International Relations, Political Science, Psychology and other Humanities.
As a Hybrid University, we uniquely combine the advantages of the online platforms and the stringent qualities of the on-campus learning to train our students. As part of the online training, students are required to take their classes, quizzes, tests and projects online. As part of the on-campus learning, students are required to take their examinations, facilitation, internship, and study offline at our designated centers.
4. How has been the response so far from stakeholders like students and regulatory bodies?
The reception by students has been quite positive. We are receiving applications from an array of students who are from across the region. The regulatory bodies have remained open to discussions and conversations towards the final recognition of the institution.
5. Is BAU limited to a geographical area or it is universal
No, BAU is not limited to a geographical area. We are a local university with a global focus intending to take the Nigerian educational system as a model for the world.
6. What are the challenges faced by BAU
This is a new type of model which is pretty alien to the average Nigerian. We are working hard to pass the message across to as many people as possible to see what advantages we are going to offer them by attending the university.
We are also facing the challenge of recognition, infrastructure development, internet and power.
7. What are the courses currently run by BAU?
Bachelor Degrees in Business Management, International Business and Management Information Systems.
8. NUC has been skeptical about trans-border education. How are they responding to this idea?
We are taking the necessary steps to get any approvals that we have pending to get. However Beni American University is not a trans-border university. We are a local Nigerian university that is bringing the best of all worlds to provide opportunities for Nigerians.
9. Any plan of running a traditional styled university in the future?
We are not discounting the idea, however this will be capital intensive and my take away our focus from what we are currently pursuing – A Boundless University.
10. Where do you see BAU in the next 10 years?
I am hoping that our students would be in some of the best positions in the region, championing organizations that will employ them as well as being some of the best entrepreneurs.
We are hoping to have graduated over 100,000 students by 2022.
11. What is your take on entrepreneurship and youths generally?
Entrepreneurship is providing that edge for youths now. We cannot continue to rely on paid jobs to become active members of the society as there are no jobs even.
For the unemployed youths, they should believe in this concept, look beyond their immediate areas of expertise. They may eventually find out that they can be creators of opportunities for others. Entrepreneurship is a great way to empower oneself for these challenges.
In that light, we will provide adequate aid for any youth who is interested in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
12 What do you think is the recipe for success for young persons
1. Honesty , 2. Openness , 3. Vision , 4. A Great team 5. Commitment
13. What is your philosophy of life
Do what has to be done. Do it well and on time