Beni American University

Beni American University

The Need for Education in Nigeria

It has been awhile since I posted, but since I am more or less settled in Seoul it seemed like a good time to post on a project that is near and dear my heart and professional focus. I have worked in an advisory capacity on Beni American University for about a year now and have witnessed it grow and begin to serve its function in Nigeria in providing opportunities for higher education to eager students. It was designed by the incredibly ambitious and tireless Gossy Ukanwoke to meet a need in Nigerian society, one of a mismatch between an overwhelming demand for higher education and a critical lack of supply. There are simply not enough universities to fill that need. There is where Beni American University comes in.

I am posting this so that you may consider contributing to the mission just as the university is attempting to build a physical campus based on, not coincidentally, the landscape and architectural designs of my sister (the same one who did the illustrations for my book– I told you she was talented). Some of these designs are below. To implement these designs, Beni American University needs funding and we are attempting to do this through a crowdsourced model supplemented by other ongoing maintenance funding appeals. Building the actual facilities is where this appeal comes in. You have a chance to literally build a university where none existed before. A chance to help some eager students achieve all that they can achieve and contribute to their country’s development in the process. It is a remarkable thing.

So I provided some of the text for the campaign below penned by Gossy. The Indiegogo page for the campaign is here. Please consider going there and contributing. If possible, spread this to your networks and let them know. As we participate in the debates around MOOCs, elearning, educational technology, and the evolution of higher education, know that there are still those left out of that conversation quite simply because they don’t have access. It all begins with access. Beni American University provides that access.

The Campaign for Beni American University

We are creating flexible and diverse opportunities for these under-served demography to gain access to quality higher education learning through the use of internet and mobile technologies. We have already achieved some of these milestones. See some of these below.

  • Campus Master Plan and Conceptual Study (July 2013)
    As part of our vision to provide American campus style experience for our university community (staff, teachers and students), we completed a conceptual study taking into account the beauty and aesthetics for an interactive campus. Learn More
  • Development Land Acquisition for Campus Development (May 2013)
    BAU acquired over 105 acres of development land required for the development of a multi-million dollar university campus that will accommodate over 10,000 students on campus upon its completion. Learn More

  • Start of Online Programs in Entrepreneurship (April 2012)
    BAU started its 12 week Entrepreneurship and Innovation certificate program designed for the study of all aspects of starting a business venture. The students will recognize and find their potential for creating a business venture or marketable product/ idea. Learn More

It has been an inspiring journey so far for us. In the past one year we have reached so many students through our Entrepreneurship and Innovation courses helping a few towards the path of creating their businesses and supporting them subsequently.

We have diversified from an Online-only university to a Hybrid university and now we are taking the big step towards creating a full physical campus as an On-Campus university.

We have encountered so many challenges that has led us to learn more about our industry, our unique market and how best to navigate reach more students in developing countries.

However, the cost of the overheads become a burden often times. We need to figure out ways to offset some these costs so that we can conclude the development plans and construction of our campus in time for the next academic year.

We hope that we can get your donations and this will contribute towards the funds we need to cover basic operational expenses, outreach, outsourcing and consulting.

Your Contributions will go towards

  • Funding Outreach Programs to recruit more students for our Entrepreneurship and Innovation Online Classes.
  • Funding Scholarship Programs to make the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Online Classes more affordable for students in under-served communities.
  • Funding Research initiatives on the use of Feature Phones and SMS to implement Mobile Learning frameworks in developing countries where internet access is a challenge.
  • The Development Consulting on Technical and Policy Requirements (So many documents need to be prepared by different experts, designers and architects). (Some of this has started)
  • Funding Pre-Development work on the university development site and interviews by the MoE.

We were fortunate to have the amazing Jen Gallagher design the 1st Phase of our campus, spread out on over 105 Acres of bare development Land. This phase covers faculty buildings, recreational facilities, housing, administrative offices, a hospital, utilities and academic support buildings.

The Campus Plan / Map:

As much as we are ensuring that our campus is beautiful, we also ensuring that it is lead by inspiring minds and the best instructors we can afford. We are also ensuring that our students will be those who can easily integrate into the culture we are developing (ExcellenceOpennessFlexibility and Innovation).

We have also developed extensive partnerships to ensure we cover every aspect of education and learning by focusing on the core – Learning and Development and outsourcing the support systems through our partnerships. One of such is with Fora – which is providing worthy high end Ivy League Accredited Courses at the fraction of the cost for our students to take advantage of.

We will continue to build on our successes and reach as many students as we can in all regions across Africa, Europe and Asia.

  • The country’s tertiary learning systems are in a mess. They haven’t been upgraded since the 1970s. Rather than leaving the problem to the politicians, Gossy Ukanwoke is creating an online university called Beni American University for Nigeria – Daily Maverick
  • Nigeria’s first online university has been launched by Gossy Ukanwoke who has been nicknamed Nigeria’s Mark Zuckerberg. – Channels TV / Reuters Africa
  • We are bringing the best of all worlds: Social + Education. Students/teachers get to learn from each other based on personal knowledge and research – Forbes
  • The university, founded by Gossy Ukanwoke, a 24-year old Nigerian, was created to fill up the valley in the Nigerian educational system which is primarily due to infrastructure challenges – Ventures Africa

  • Why is PayPal not activated?- Unfortunately, PayPal does not work in our region of operation and as such we cannot maintain our PayPal account from here.
  • How did you arrive at the funding target?- We took an average of the each of the costs / needs we specified under “Your Contributions”.
  • How will the contributions be spent?- Some of our needs have fixed costs and others do not. We will logically share the contributions towards the flexible needs and fully fund needs with fixed costs assuming we meet our funding goal.
  • What if your funding goal is not met?- We appreciate every support we receive during our fundraising, and every backer will be welcomed into the BAU Patriot community. If we don’t reach our target, all received contributions will be added to our current funds as we continue to take advantage of our other funding sources.
  • My questions are not answered here- We are happy to hear your questions, suggestions and contributions. Please feel free to email us at or visit our website for more information.

So consider going there and contributing. The Indiegogo page for the campaign is here. Spread the word and please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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