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Nexford University Raises $10.8m for Education Accessibility

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Nexford University

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nexford University, an online learning platform that offers next-generation learning experiences, has secured a $10.8 million Series A fund.

The funding round was led by Dubai-based VC Global Ventures and other investors including Future Africa’s new thematic fund (focused on education), angel investors, family offices and unnamed VCs from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Dubai, Switzerland, Qatar, Nigeria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

The latest round brings the total funds raised by the company to $15.3 million, following a $4.5 million seed funding gotten in 2019.

The online school offers undergraduate degrees in business administration; 360° marketing; Artificial Intelligence & automation; building a tech startup; business analytics; business in emerging markets; digital transformation; e-commerce; and product management.

Its graduate degrees are business administration, advanced AI, e-commerce, hyperconnectivity, sustainability, and world business. Students study at their own pace once they get admitted into the school

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The tuition structure is different from traditional universities. Its accredited degrees cost between $3,000 to $4,000 paid in monthly instalments.

In Nigeria, for instance, an MBA costs about $160 a month, while a bachelor’s degree costs $80 a month. The faster a learner graduates, the less they pay.

Nexford University has learners from 70 countries, with Nigeria being its biggest market. The school also has blue-chip partnerships with Microsoft, LinkedIn Learning, and IBM to provide access to tools, courses, and programs to improve the learning experience.

Speaking on the development, Mr Fadl Al Tarzi, CEO of Nexford University, “In 2021, it is not acceptable for less than 10 per cent of the world population to have a college degree, or for student debt in the US to be over $1.6 trillion. Now, with additional funding, we can invest in the technology and teams required to address these challenges.”

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Adding his input, Mr Iyin Aboyeji, Future Africa’s founder and general partner, called the company a game-changer for higher education in Africa because it focused on the future of learning.

“During the pandemic, while many universities in Nigeria were shut down due to labour disputes, Nexford was already delivering an innovative and affordable new model of online higher education designed for a skills-based economy,” Mr Aboyeji said.

On his part, Mr Noor Sweid, general partner at Global Ventures said, “We are thrilled to partner with Fadl and the Nexford team on their journey toward expanding access to universal quality higher education in emerging markets.”

Launched in 2019 by Mr Fadl Al Tarzi, Nexford University is filling affordability and relevance gaps by providing access to quality and affordable education.

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Nexford University is a Washington-based, tech-enabled institution that leverages machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to create a data and skills-driven curriculum.

The university was founded on the beliefs that a lack of education is the root cause of most world challenges and that people should be able to access economic opportunities irrespective of physical location.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Education

Oyeleye Unveils Every Beginner’s Chess Book with 215 Puzzles

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Oyeleye Every Beginner's Chess Book

By Dipo Olowookere

A book aimed to deepen the understanding of chess among youngsters and professionals has been launched by an International Chess Federation (FIDE) licensed Chess in School Instructor, Mr Olawale Oyeleye.

The book titled Every Beginner’s Chess Book with 215 Puzzles was unveiled at a virtual event recently to chess players, organisers, arbiters, coaches and corporate Nigerian.

The author of the book said at the unveiling that he was inspired to write the book when he noticed that young chess players in Nigeria and Africa lacked materials to learn more about the board game.

According to him, he nursed the idea for nine years before coming up with Every Beginner’s Chess Book with 215 Puzzles, expressing confidence that the book will benefit the readers because of the extensive research he did.

“I took time to research on the essentials of what is needed for beginners and today, we have a book which is full of illustrations to make the teaching of chess in schools and in clubs easy for youngsters,” he said.

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Also speaking at the launch, the Director of TheJohnFawole Award and Bruvchessmedia, Fawole John Oyeyemi, commended the author for the piece, recommending its adoption as teaching material in schools.

“Chess books written by Nigerian authors are few. Mr Oyeleye has given us a book that speaks to the basics of the board game.

“You have done something great in the chess world. This book should be adopted by schools for their chess learning programmes.

With this book, Mr Oyeleye had moved chess a step further and it would also become a popular board game in Nigeria,” he said.

On her part, the ex-president of the Chess Players Association of Nigeria (CPAN), Ms Ayokanmi Ajayi, praised Mr Oyeleye for his immense contribution to the game in Nigeria, saying, “You have pushed forward the frontiers of chess with the text. This is a proper chess book to educate the Nigerian child. It is affordable and easy to understand.”

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A member of the FIDE Athlete Commission and Chairman of ACC Players Commission, International Master Odion Aikhoje, commended the author for putting together a laudable book on chess.

He said the positive mindset of the author motivated him to see the project through despite the trying times that we are in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The book is dedicated to explaining the game of chess and talking about the benefits of chess. Previously encountered chess books are technical books but the extra illustration by the author can make one know more about the game.

The book helps to visualize and calculate the moves on the board and this piece of work will help develop players. A properly presented book will aid the learning of the game,” he stated.

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The President of Togo Chess Federation and former secretary to FIDE, Enyonam Noel Fumey, said the book is a marvel and he wishes that all Nigerian educational authors will use it as an introduction to the game.

He charged the writer of the book to ensure that the work is translated into French so that Francophone-speaking countries can also benefit from it.

Mr Oyeleye, who is married to Mrs Caroline Adedoyin, is also the author of Levels 1-6 Chess Workbooks powered by Pedachess Educational Services Ltd.

He is an Accountant, National Arbiter, Tournament Director, Chess Trainer, Journalist, Public Relation Officer for CPAN since 2017 till date.

He was awarded the Arbiter of the year in 2016, 2017, and 2018 respectively, and awarded the Tournament Director of the year 2018.

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Education

Baptist Girls Academy Wins CIIN Quiz Competition

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Baptist Girls Academy

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Baptist Girls Academy defeated four other schools to clinch the 2021 edition of the Secondary Schools Quiz Competition organised by the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN).

The second position was taken by Reagan Memorial while International School Lagos, came third, with Baptist Academy and Gideon International School taking the fourth fifth positions respectively.

Speaking on the competition, the President/Chairman of CIIN, Mr Muftau Oyegunle, said the quiz competition was borne out of the organisation’s desire to enlighten and introduce young minds to the amazing world of insurance.

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He explained that the initiative is also aimed at promoting the significance of underwriting in humans’ daily lives, community development, poverty elimination, economic advancement and world peace.

“Insurance ensures that we have adequate safety nets against the misfortunes of life by providing compensation for its customers that enable them to survive the adversities of life.

“Hence, insurance provides us with a means of protecting ourselves and our families from unexpected but possible financial losses while also enhancing the capacity to build wealth,” Mr Oyegunle said.

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He charged the students to consider insurance as a choice of career as the industry could do with the brightest minds the country has to offer.

“This competition is designed to create awareness amongst you, the young adults, who we consider the future of our industry, about the importance of insurance as a service and the career opportunities it offers to students like you.

“It is my belief that whatever you have learnt in preparation for the competition shall impact your lives positively. Similarly, the knowledge and information you receive here today would assist you in your carrier choice,” he said.

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The insurance expert expressed hope that the students would maximize the opportunities which the competition provides and make insurance their course of first choice when going into the university.

He submitted that the competition was not all about winning but also about having fun while learning more about the sector.

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Education

Entries Open for QuickLearning Mathematics Contest

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QuickLearning Mathematics Contest

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Students who want to test their Mathematics prowess can begin to register for the QuickLearning Mathematics Contest (QLMC) Nigeria.

The organisers said intending participants have till Sunday, July 4, 2021, to enter the competition and entry into the competition is absolutely free with over N3 million cash prizes will be won.

QLMC Nigeria is open to JSS3 students attending full-time secondary education in both public and private schools in Nigeria and registration for the competition, which are in two stages: Stage One is the Qualifying Online Examination and Stage Two the TV Quiz Show, is going online at www.mathematics.quicklearning.africa

It was disclosed that for the 2020/21 maiden season of QLMC Nigeria, each school is allowed to register a minimum of five or a maximum of 20 of their best JSS3 math students, irrespective of their gender, religion, or state of origin, to write the online qualifying examination. This is to expose as many students as possible to computer-based testing methods at an early stage in life.

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The qualifying examination will be on the QuickCBT platform which the students can write from anywhere, such as their schools, homes, or café using their laptops or smartphones thereby providing flexibility.

The idea is to encourage good participation without exposing the students to various hazards such as travel, logistics and health risks.

From the large number of students that are expected to write the qualifying examination, only the best 54 based on scores earned will be selected for the next stage – TV Quiz show for the ultimate prize (students and teachers) and bragging rights of ‘The Quicklearning Mathematics Champion, Nigeria’.

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The contest, which is mainly for critical thinking math geniuses in secondary schools in Nigeria, is being packaged by JustMedia, Africa’s foremost developer of educational quizzes.

The organisers noted that there is a need to close the gap between the critical thinking ability of average African students and their peers across the globe.

QLMC Nigeria is a school-based mathematics competition for secondary school students across Nigeria specifically designed to identify, reward outstanding students and help highlight the benefits of critical thinking to solve everyday challenges.

It was disclosed that to assist the participants, all JSS3 students, including the duly registered students for the exam, will be offered free prep classes (weekend online classes manned by reputable math tutors) to help them prepare for the highly competitive qualifying exams with the support of the National Examination Council (NECO).

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The free prep classes will be delivered on the Quicklearning platform, a secure e-learning platform for curriculum-based after-school studies, exam coaching and vocational studies.

The Quicklearning App is designed to deliver safe, high quality, online real-time, user-friendly, affordable and accessible interfaces between students and tutors.

Quicklearning offers unique features such as a secure teaching platform for students, a pool of verified competent tutors, a wide range of school subjects/curriculum, hobbies, periodic evaluation/aptitude tests with over 350,000 past questions – objective, theory and answers of major examinations, homework assistance and scholarships for outstanding students.

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