Gossy Ukanwoke- Nigeria’s Mark Zuckerberg?
Gossy Ukanwoke is the founder of Beni American University (BAU), Nigeria’s first private online university, established in 2012.
At 23, and laden with concern for the declining state of the African educational sector, Gossy took the challenge to reinvent the wheel and introduce an effective learning model by incorporating research, technology, and entrepreneurial development to equip students with skills they require to graduate and make huge impacts regardless of their discipline and without the limitations of infrastructure.
His tech startup, Students Circle, which works more like Facebook but for a more scholastic audience, combines a social feature with a rich database of over 10,000 academic resources- notes, literary works, essays, past questions and tutorials. So far, the network has about 2,407 registered members and over 20,371 non registered members from over 120 countries.
“Students Circle Network allows students to interact and communicate over educational resources, making education and e-learning social and human by giving resources, study groups, social connections, scholarships offers and university placements.”
Gossy Ukanwoke, who is currently concluding his Bachelors in Management Information Systems at Girne American University, North Cyprus serves as the head of the Business and Technology developments at Beni American University.
Now what’s in the name “Beni American University?”
Gossy explained that the university is referred to as American, because it is built around the American curriculum and semesters.
According to him, “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”.
The future is bright for the purposeful entrepreneur, and there’s no going slow;
“We are also looking at being the number one social network and educational resource in every classroom in Africa and across the globe. We are working heavily on mobile delivery and this will be the major front for Students Circle in times to come.”
For Gossy, it’s not just about words, but about taking calculated giant steps.
Yet in its infant years, BAU has hired more than 10 instructors and has a student base of over 200, with an average age of 26.
The entrepreneur is also working to launch a physical facility which would accommodate about 10,000 students in Benue State, Nigeria.
He gives a glimpse into his future plans for the university, “very soon we are going to see buildings and street lights on this land with students and teachers going about their activities.”
Presently, courses such as Journalism, project management, Corporate Diplomacy, digital marketing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation are being offered in BAU.
A son of two teachers, Gossy says his main propelling force is his passion to use technology to solve social problems.
“I grew up within the framework where education was put at a very high level of importance, and entrepreneurship is something that I always wanted to do,” he says.
It’s been indeed a success story for the Nigerian born change maker, but then, he is not one to rest on his many laurels, “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,”
January 16th, 2015