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App allows Rhodes Communiversity to teach communities for free

2017-08-17 17:32

Could free lectures on their phones inspire young people to start businesses, grow the economy and employ more people?

Rhodes University thinks so and, in a groundbreaking move to teach communities, has launched a television channel accessible through an app – for now.

The channel, Rhodes Business School, offers lectures in economics, commercial law, entrepreneurship and financial planning.

It can be accessed on the Tuluntulu app, a mobile TV platform offering various 24/7 streaming video and radio on channels covering news, public affairs and documentaries.

Users download the app and view streamed content free on Wi-Fi but data costs apply when connected on mobile networks.

Rhodes University spokesperson Veliswa Mhlope said, based on the success of the channel, a fully fledged TV channel will be developed to include languages such as isiXhosa and a full spectrum of business subjects.

Funded by Nedbank, the channel aims to be an incubator to promote social enterprise, entrepreneurship and empower local people with business management skills.

Rhodes Business School director Professor Owen Skae said the project, which currently has more than 40 hours of content, speaks to the need for Rhodes University to join other higher education institutions globally who play a major role in their immediate communities through hubs of innovation across faculties towards creating compassionate cities through compassionate institutions.

Skae believes that partnerships with the government and business can lead to greater entrepreneurial and employment opportunities for the Makana community.

“The vice-chancellor [Sizwe Mabizela] often talks about the concept of ‘brighten the corner where you are’; this is what we are doing.

"As part of the transformation agenda, universities and higher education institutions should focus on their role in advancing the social and economic growth of their cities and towns,” said Skae.

Skae said the initiative allows Rhodes to evolve into a “communiversity”.

He said this was as a newly coined global term that aimed to reflect the role universities played in terms of providing academic and cultural stimulation to the communities in which they are located and become centres of creative thinking and innovation.

The commercial law lectures presented by Advocate Shuaib Rahim are among the first programmes available on the channel.

Over the next weeks, additional content will be available in the various knowledge areas offered by Rhodes University.

Skae believes that partnerships with the government and business can lead to greater entrepreneurial and employment opportunities for the Makana community.

“It is the digital era and we need to find ways of making knowledge accessible at the lowest possible cost to as many people as possible.

"South Africa is at a crossroads in its social economic development, having averaged a 1% economic growth over the last quarter century.

"As part of the pilot programme, we wanted to focus on more specific subjects and audiences to inspire young people to start businesses, grow the economy and employ more people,” Skae said.

This platform would be in addition to the Rhodes Music Radio station (RMR), which is also available on the app.

Mhlope said as a campus-based community radio station, RMR could now reach a wider audience than just Grahamstown and surrounds.

Founded in 1981, RMR was the first campus-based station to be licensed to broadcast legally, Mhlope said.

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October 15 2017