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Africa: Honoris maps success over five years

Over half a decade, Honoris United Universities has equipped more than 61,000 students with “future-proof” skills to build rewarding careers solving Africa’s most pressing challenges.

Photo: Nile University of Nigeria

Global investment firm Actis formed the network in 2017 with a $275m investment

In its inaugural impact report, the pan-African network of private higher education institutions found that it has transformed over 770,000 lives across Africa by preparing students to pursue “rewarding regional and international careers”.

In the five years since its formation in 2017, 80% of graduates of the 15-institution network have gained access to the job market within six months of graduating. Agreements with 400+ partners have helped with transition from academia to the workplace, as have 22 career centres used by more than 21,000+ students, Honoris noted.

“By living our core values of collaborative intelligence, cultural agility, and mobile mindsets, Honoris has become today what was envisioned five years ago – transformational pan-African social infrastructure to educate tomorrow’s workforce and harness Africa’s demographic dividend,” Honoris Group CEO, Jonathan Louw, said in a statement.

In 2021, 38 programs – including in Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Fintech, and Cyber Security – have been added to Honoris courses to address growing tech demands. More than 10,000 students also enrolled on to the new Honoris 21st Century Skills Certificate focusing on “key digital and soft skills required for the new world of work” during that same year. A further 100,000+ students are projected to join in the next five years.

The network’s engineering schools grew from 5,200 total enrolments in 2018 to 20,400 in 2021, it added.

“Whilst we continue to adapt to a post-pandemic environment and leverage technologies to increase access to quality education, we take a moment to celebrate this achievement, whilst using it to power and ignite the journey ahead,” Louw explained.

“A journey that the People of Honoris will continue to forge with the same authenticity and passion as was held five years ago, to better serve our students across Africa.”

The network – spread over 10 countries in Africa – has set its vision to provide students across Africa with “high quality education that is accessible and affordable”, according to Shami Nissan, partner sustainability at global investment firm Actis, which formed the network in 2017 with a $275m investment.

The aim is especially targeted at preparing students with requisite skills needed to flourish in the the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Along with workforce readiness, soft, technical and entrepreneurial skills, Deloitte has said youth must be able to participate in lifelong learning. Honoris launched a range of coding bootcamps in 2021, together with Le Wagon.

Honoris stated that more than 130 million new jobs are expected to emerge worldwide by 2030, and traditional education models are not currently meeting the set of soft and technical skills required.

In South Africa, almost 500 educational professionals have undergone training to narrow the gap of skilled teachers across the continent. Additionally, Honoris awarded 1,000+ scholarships and bursaries to students across the continent in 2021.

“Education for Impact means being intentional about the way we educate the next generation of leaders,” said Nissan.

“In sewing an internal spirit of fairness and responsibility, and striving to provide services that are sustainable and purpose-driven, Honoris will reap the kind of students that will emulate these core values in the way they go on to make their impact in the world,” she added.

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