uLesson is building an online open university named Miva

Nigerian edtech company, uLesson has launched a tertiary education arm, Miva Open University to offer distance e-learning opportunities to Africans.

uLesson is building an online open university named Miva
uLesson employees

After four years of providing online K-12 education across Africa, uLesson is expanding its offerings to cover tertiary education. The Nigeria-based edtech is launching Miva Open University, a pan-African distance e-learning institution.  

"Yearly, over one million students are denied entrance into [Nigerian] universities due to limited spaces and other reasons. However, I believe that education should be widely available, effective and enjoyable. This is why we are building Miva University," Sim Shagaya, co-founder and CEO of uLesson & Miva University, said in a promotional video obtained by Benjamindada.com.

In 2021, an investigation by the Guardian Nigeria revealed that more than 190,000 qualified candidates were denied admission to seven Nigerian public universities. It is important to note that seven is about 7.69% of the total public universities in the country.

Amidst this, public universities in the country are still laden with several challenges from low lecturer-to-student ratio, poor infrastructural facilities and continued strikes by university staff.

The university will be a fully-licensed degree awarding institution, according to Iheanyi Akwitti, Senior Vice President, Academics at Miva. The university's website indicates that it will offer undergraduate courses in computing; computer science, cyber security, data science and software engineering. It also has a school of management and social science featuring degrees in business management, economics, accounting and public policy and administration.

"Our mission is to provide accessible, high-quality education that helps our students succeed in the digital marketplace," Shagaya said.

Miva University is currently hiring for various roles including a vice-chancellor; who must be a PhD scholar with a minimum of ten years of work experience in a senior leadership position. "We need passionate people who will help us to transform the tertiary education landscape," Mary Efretei-Ogunkoya, Head of People at Miva, added.

This announcement is coming nine days after uLesson discontinued its 1:1 private tutoring sessions in coding for kids—between the ages of 4 to 18, uLesson Coding School, this is the second time the company will be rolling back this product that was previously called DevKids.

"Despite our best efforts and your hard work, changes in company direction and focus have made it necessary for us to discontinue the product," uLesson stated in an email to staff, that was obtained by Benjamindada.com. "This means that we won't be taking any new or renewing learners from now henceforth...Our focus will be on minimizing disruption and ensuring that every active learner of the product is provided quality service till the end of their subscriptions."

All the tutors—who were on a contract agreement—on this product were laid off, according to a source familiar with the issue.

Recall that in November 2021, we exclusively reported that uLesson discontinued the defunct DevKids because "the cost of acquiring clients and customers were very high compared to the returns and revenue". At the time, a source familiar with the issue told us that DevKids may return.

Four months later, the Abuja-based edtech rebranded and relaunched DevKids as uLesson Coding School; "a different name. Same mission. Even better," the company tweeted. It's been nine months and the coding school which is also referred to as 1 to 1 Premium Learning has been shut down.

In December 2021 when uLesson raised a $15 million Series B fund, Shagaya said the company is going to "be rolling out a lot of these things", Miva might be one of the things he was referring to.

With the courses to be offered in its school of computing, Miva University will meet a competitor, AltSchool Africa, another Nigeria-based edtech that currently offers certifications in software engineering, product and data, for a year-long study which includes an internship. The startup has also partnered with institutions to offer diplomas—AltSchool's co-founder, Akintunde Sultan recently described what they are building as a "university".

Last year, AltSchool raised $1 million in pre-seed funding to scale its efforts.

Related Article: CcHub wants to invest $15M into 72 African edtech startups

Editor's Note:

  • This is a developing story, we have reached out to uLesson for comments.

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