As the 2013 National Senior Certificate examination results have been released, many are discovering that they may not be able to attend University in South Africa in 2014. University of the People provides thousands of disappointed South African High School graduates with newfound hope, enabling qualified individuals lacking the necessary admission points scores or financial means to obtain a quality higher education, tuition-free.
University of the People (UoPeople; www.UoPeople.org <http://www.UoPeople.org> ) is a non-profit, tuition-free, degree granting online academic institution dedicated to opening access to higher education globally. It is designed to provide access to University studies for qualified high school graduates, despite financial, geographic, societal, or personal constraints.
Last year, the University announced a drive to increase its footprint and reach for African students. In support of this, Microsoft recently announced its offering of 1000 UoPeople scholarships for African students. This opens the doors to higher education for many South African students. Shai Reshef, President and founder of the University, recently visited South Africa in
order to unveil the groundbreaking program, as well as search for additional partners in order to create further scholarship opportunities for South African students. President Reshef is scheduled to visit South Africa again in March to advance his search. University of the People aims to ensure that qualified students who have been turned away from brick-and-mortar universities in South Africa will be able to acquire a high quality tertiary education.
“We all know that many would-be students turned away from Universities are not rejected due to their qualification, but rather due to lack of available seats in Universities. We cannot allow such limitations to bar individuals from access to quality higher education. In this day and age, thanks to the rapid flow of information enabled by the internet, quality education can and must be the right for all, not a privilege for a few”, says President Reshef.
Founded in 2009, UoPeople has partnered with several prestigious supporters such as Yale University for research and the New York University to accept students. In addition, the University works with Microsoft for scholarships and access to its certificate programmes, mentoring, internships and employment opportunities; and Hewlett-Packard, for general support, scholarships for women and internships.
The organisation has gained widespread support of leading academics with its Presidents Council chaired by New York University President John Sexton and includes Oxford Vice-Chancellor Sir Colin Lucas, Rector Emeritus of the Academy of Paris, Michèle Gendreau-Massaloux, and UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, among others. UoPeople is supported by The Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Hewlett Foundation and companies such as HP, Google, Microsoft, Western Union and Estee Lauder and many more. UoPeople has received the support of almost 1.2 million people on Facebook and garnere