Cecil Nutakor, a Ghanaian entrepreneur, did an exclusive interview with African News Agency where he discussed eCampus, his new e-learning platform. He was invited to South Africa by the African Development Bank to engage in the inaugural African Investment Forum as one of eight young and successful entrepreneurs in Africa.
eCampus is a disruptor across Africa which has changed the way teaching and learning are practiced. The platform not only educates students but also gives them the motivation to study.
Nutakor had a hard time going through school because the education system in Ghana is not designed to deal with inquisitive and creative students like him.
“Everybody blamed me for not studying hard. But I felt that the system was too rigid and wasn’t designed to make learning interesting and fun,” the entrepreneur says. “The system was designed in a way that some of us who did not like cramming would keep failing.”
“Some of us like asking questions, being analytical, and trying things out,” he continued. “I had to do something to prove to my family that I was not that dumb but it was the system that had a problem.”
Due to his school experience, Nutakor was inspired to create the e-learning platform, eCampus, after raising over US$300,000. The platform leverages on exponential technologies which refers to any technology that expands 10 times every year in power, capacity, and deliverables such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, quantum computing and blockchain, to name a few.
Nukator describes eCampus as an electronic classroom where more than 400 experts upload tutorials and course material on several subjects such as math, music, science, and sport which then get digitized in voice, notes and video format. This would enable chat groups and open discussions for students who get graded on what they have learnt. Clients of eCampus are private schools, government schools, insurance companies, medical schools, engineering schools, authors, and firms. Moreover, the content would be accessible in seven languages.
“With eCampus we are able to predict whether you are ready for an exam or not so you don’t go and embarrass yourself,” he says. “So when you’re learning on our platform, you will be earning points which we will calibrate and predict the mark you will get. If you know that, for instance, 40,000 points will get you a B and before the exam you have 80,000 points, you will be (very) confident.”
“Anything that has a final exam – nurses training, medical school, law school, architects – we are able to predict your final mark.”
The entrepreneur states that “the platform is introducing micro-credentials, certificates that acknowledge achievement in each aspect of course material, giving students the opportunity to get employed based on what they have learnt. It also offers learning as a currency by making the act of learning give you instant gratification”.
“Beyond making you know if you are ready for an exam or not and generating your micro-credentials, you can also trade the points you earn by learning on our platform for real-world things like food, transportation, entertainment and healthcare,” says Nutakor.
Nukator was a recipient of scholarships to Universities due to his innovative plan. Although he didn’t finish his Bachelor of Science degree from Regents University of Science and Technology in Ghana, Nukator received an MBA in Global Business and Sustainability from the Catholic University of Milan in Italy in 2014. The toughest decision he ever made was to walk away from a US$2 million deal in 2008 which he would have sold an 80 percent stake in e-Campus to the Venture Capital Trust Fund; he didn’t think he was prepared to run a large corporation then.
“They were right. They were asking things like, what’s your present and future value, discounted ratios, the balance sheet deficit, and I would call the consultants to explain,” said Nutakor.
“At the time I was angry but now that I know all these things I think they were right because they were going to give me $2 million and I would have to do quarterly reports, depreciations, amortizations. But I said I can’t give 80 percent of all my hard work to somebody else, go to the US and come back (to find) it has changed.”
“I remember that day I walked for kilometres in the hot sun wearing a suit and carrying my bag. I was just angry and walked for a long time before I realized I had walked too many kilometres.”
“Right there I decided to ask which schools in Ghana can give me a degree, so I went to the Ghana Institute of Public Management and Administration and got in on a new programme in Entrepreneurship and SME Management.”
“So it is still very important to get an education,” he says.
eCampus is fair in sharing its revenue. “Fellows” or teachers and content providers share the subscription income at a 50:50 ratio. Learners would pay an affordable subscription fee but high school and primary school materials are absolutely free.
By Chineze Onu
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