Listed multimedia group Naspers has invested R45 million into online learning platform, The Student Hub.
The investment forms part of Naspers’ R1.4 billion early-stage tech investment vehicle, and is the fourth deal made in the portfolio since 2019, bringing the total investments to approximately R200 million.
The Student Hub increases access to vocational education to large numbers of students while reducing the costs of delivery of education and training.
The company helps overcome the constraints of limited physical infrastructure and related resources by partnering with government accredited Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges to help them deliver their courses online.
The online platform also connects graduates with work opportunities related to their skills set.
The Student Hub digitises TVET course content to present curricula in a personalised and learner-centric environment through a 100% online distance learning model, as well as through a blended learning model to students who attend classes in person at TVET campuses nationwide.
The platform provides tools for lecturers and tutors to track individual student performance and for heads of faculties to measure the productivity and performance of lecturers in real time, resulting in a marked increase in pass rates.
Its crowdfunding tools assist students in financing their studies and enable donors to follow the progress of their beneficiaries, while an integrated skills marketplace matches graduates to entry-level job placements.
“Our investment in The Student Hub is an example of how digitalisation has the potential to address unequal access to education, create local opportunities, and enable increased participation towards a more inclusive economy,” Naspers said.
Naspers tech investments
In 2019, Naspers Foundry invested R30 million in online home cleaning services business, SweepSouth and R100 million in May this year, in agritech business Aerobotics, a subscription-based artificial intelligence company.
In September, it invested in Food Supply Network, a B2B online marketplace that integrates food ordering systems across the food services industry.
Of the total R4.6 billion that Naspers committed to invest at the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference, which includes the R1.4 billion for Naspers Foundry, the group has so far invested R1.9 billion of its original pledge in its existing South Africa businesses Takealot, Mr D Food, Superbalist, Media24 and OLX.
Additionally, R69 million has been invested in Naspers Labs, Naspers’s youth development programme which provides unemployed young people with the confidence and training to pursue tech careers in preparation for a more digitally-driven local economy.
Naspers donated R500 million to the Solidarity Fund towards the country’s Covid relief efforts and sourced and delivered R1 billion’s worth of personal protection equipment for South Africa’s frontline healthcare workers earlier this year.