When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, students across the world were forced to learn online. According to Fred Swaniker, the Co-founder of the African Leadership University (ALU) this served as an opportunity to rethink conventional education as it was know pre-pandemic.
As Covid-19 cases went up and down and the country into and out of lockdown, the situation became continuously unpredictable and that is how ALU, despite a brand new campus located in the Kigali Innovation City, came up with the ‘hub’ learning model, which will see their students study and graduate without stepping in class.
On June 28, ALU launched its Kigali Hub, which is located in town and the university says it is another milestone in its five-year strategy announced last year, which they say will redefine university education as we know it.
“The idea of hubs is to have spaces where students can come together in small groups, a place with internet, electricity and other infrastructure, and learn without going to the campus. In the hub, they can network and be close to communities and employers,” explained Swaniker, adding that the initiative will help create students with the necessary employable and innovative skills.
According to ALU, the new strategic direction, grounded in learning by doing, missions not majors and accessibility of education demonstrates ALU’s commitment to providing world-class experiential education. The immersive practical learning as well as a mission-driven education, enables the development of effective problem solving and leadership skills in ALU students.
According to Swaniker, as a key component of ALU’s learning by doing philosophy, ALU Hubs facilitate student place-based learning, internships, and collaboration with key community stakeholders. Students are placed close to the challenges and opportunities in communities across Africa and the globe. Through collaboration with key business leaders and community stakeholders, ALU students cement long-term relationships necessary to ignite positive change.
Speaking at the Launch ceremony, Veda Sunassee, the ALU CEO said that the hubs model will not just redefine learning but also create graduates who are more of problem solvers in their respective communities.
“”What I love about this new approach is that it’s not a departure from but rather an evolution of our learning model that gets us even closer to our vision of developing tens of thousands of leaders and problem solvers for the continent,”
“This new model allows us to further optimize for learner-centricity, peer and experiential learning. We believe strongly that by empowering the students to take ownership of their learning, by bringing them closer to the systems they intend to effect change in, and by distributing our pan-African community across various cities in Africa and elsewhere, we are effectively preparing them for the real world.”
Currently, a select group of ALU students are partaking in a 3 month experiential learning programme in collaboration with Design Hub Kampala, in the capital city of Uganda. From the 25th of July to the 19th of August 2022, in collaboration with the Carnegie Foundation, another group of ALU students will spend a few weeks in a uniquely immersive program in Silicon Valley, California, as part of their real world and experiential learning journey.