Business

Mancosa’s digital shift the next step in providing accessible, quality education

This higher education institution continues to respond proactively and innovatively to the challenges of our time

Mancosa strives to produce graduates that are well rounded, informed citizens capable of creating and occupying jobs of the 21st century.
Mancosa strives to produce graduates that are well rounded, informed citizens capable of creating and occupying jobs of the 21st century.
Image: 123RF/kadettmann

Mancosa is a private higher education institution founded in 1995 by the late Professor Yusuf Karodia after he had been denied admission at the few business schools in the country. A lesser man would have walked away and the story would have ended right there. 

However, when the doors of learning were shut to Karodia, he resolved to find a way to open them for others who, because of discrimination, stood a far lesser chance of pursuing business studies at a masters level. 

It’s unsurprising then that Mancosa was founded on the pillars of accessibility, credibility and affordability. My resolve as the principal of this institution, and successor to the inimitable Karodia, is to protectively guard these principles and values, while enabling Mancosa to be responsive to global evolving challenges. A collaborative, caring and learning organisational culture already in existence makes this an achievable mission.

About the author: Professor Magnate Ntombela is the principal of Mancosa.
About the author: Professor Magnate Ntombela is the principal of Mancosa.
Image: Supplied/Mancosa

We live in fast-changing times. Technological advancements and the Covid-19 pandemic have led to unprecedented disruptions in all spheres of life, but these are arguably felt more acutely in the education sector, which is expected to prepare people for the future. 

The far-reaching changes that have been and continue to be experienced are often rightfully referred to as a crisis. Over and above this global upheaval, local riots, intermittent power cuts and the depressed economy have all added to the challenges we face. Our “normal” has been changed forever. 

As Randy Ramos, the late CEO of Global Business Solutions, Inc, said: “Sometimes, events force our hand and push us to take a quantum leap into the future — and this is one of those times.”

Leadership in these times means traversing unchartered waters. You have to be agile and adaptable without altogether discarding established positive traits such as having a clear sense of direction, being willing to listen to different voices from inside and outside your organisation, and being able to live and work with ambiguity.

It’s intriguing that in times such as these, the interest of newcomers in your organisation poses a potential risk, but at the same time indicates that you are operating in a vibrant environment, full of opportunities.

Mancosa continues to respond proactively and innovatively to the challenges of our time. The success of the institution pivoting to online teaching and learning delivery is underpinned by having enablers in place to help students adapt to, and benefit from, these changes.

Such enablers include mandatory learning management system, induction and orientation modules together with online summative assessment training, which includes webinars and mock sessions to heighten comfort levels for students and staff. In-house professional development in online teaching for academics ensures that quality lessons are delivered.

The exercise is not just a technical one but also a deliberate and focused change management effort. In the words of US business executive Jack Welch: “When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” This is the mantra that I hope will describe my leadership.

The success of the Mancosa’s pivot to online education is underpinned by having enablers in place to help students adapt to, and benefit from, these changes
Professor Magnate Ntombela, Mancosa’s principal

SA holds the unenviable honour of being one of the most unequal countries in the world. This inequality is felt the most in the education industry where quality education is enjoyed by a few.

Mancosa’s reason for existence is to provide access to affordable, quality education, especially to the disadvantaged sectors of society.

More than 25 years into the country’s democratic dispensation, this purpose is still relevant and made even more pressing by the high levels of unemployment and poverty.

It is a purpose that inspires resilience and a strong drive to have an impact in society. Mancosa strives to produce graduates that are well rounded, informed citizens capable of creating and occupying jobs of the 21st century. As such, specific add-on programmes are run to give Mancosa graduates a head start in the job market stakes.

A new and exciting development that adds credence to this purpose is the establishment of the School of Information and Digital Technology, which offers a mix of formal and short programmes designed to equip students with the much-needed digital skills to be competitive in today’s world.

These offerings, together with other essential skills infused into curricula such as communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving and so on, aim to close the skills gap between what employers need as opposed to what graduates seeking employment offer.

The approach being pursued by Mancosa provides good grounding for sustainable success for the institution and its students, especially if the latter embrace being lifelong learners, imbued with the zeal to continuously improve their knowledge, skills and attitudes.

This article was paid for by Mancosa.