Nigeria’s Mark Zuckerberg? Students Circle creator set to launch online university

by Lekan Olanrewaju

Ever heard of the guy tech-heads are calling Nigeria’s Mark Zuckerberg? No? Well, he’s a Nigerian entrepreneur who is changing the way students in Africa receive education through online resources.  23 years old Gossy Ukanwoke has created the Students Circle Network, an academic social network platform and also plans to launch an online university for African students called Beni American University.

The Student’s Circle Network – which was profiled in the latest edition of Y! magazine – was launched in 2010, and has seen much success since then, but Ukanwoke still sees a gap in the educational systems in Africa which needs to be filled.

His new startup, Beni American University is aimed at bringing quality education to African children and adults who want to gain a post secondary diploma or degree.

The founder recognises that many people in Africa who want to attend universities often cannot, due to infrastructure limitations, and thus decided an online university would solve that problem.

Ukanwoke’s hope is that an online institution that doesn’t require going to a physical location eliminates issues such as overcrowding and a limit to the amount of people who can attend.

Students who enroll in the university will receive perks such as a PC and internet access.

The university’s focus will be on emerging subjects like technology, web 2.0 and entrepreneurship.

Ukanwoke also plans to expand to Central America and Asia in the future.


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Comments (12)

  1. No need to be harsh on Knex; he/she was only trying to air he's mind. People have right to, I have been trashed several times even by the people who own most of the media we use everyday, only now they are warming up to me cos I have the people they respect listening to me.

    I think we should congratulate the young man very well for thinking about Africa but again we should be careful of how we go about transporting western cultures and civilizations to Africa. One question I have always asked is; Do the West really mean well for Africa and what instruments do they use to get at us now: Education, Technology, Lifestyle, Entertainment?

    I have refused to collect awards on many occasions because it was obvious they had hidden motives.

    I like the guy's idea. I will support it any day.

  2. @Knex: you are obviously a sorry case. first of all, the fact that you don't know that he's being called "Nigeria's Mark Zuckerberg" is no ones fault so try as much as possible to hide your ignorant self. Secondly, I have never heard of you nor anything that you have innovated or even attempted to innovate so take my advice and shut up! I read on that one Nigerian is the next Mark Zuckerberg, when I checked the name it wasn't yours. When I start hearing your name in the news about something positive that you have done with your ignorant self then, we can have a conversation but for now, just shut up!

  3. @Knex You are obviously oblivious to the fact that the name is insightful; it is CREATIVE. It would be preferable for you to suggest a name next time? Judging by your swift criticism, your knowledge of good University names must certainly be vast, and beneficially rewarding, so please do share…

    Your choice of word "crappy" explains your utter lack of any understanding whatsoever.

    "I find it very hard to believe anyone is referring to him as Nigeria’s Mark Zuckerberg." – Take a moment to contemplate the ambiguous nature in which term "Nigeria’s Mark Zuckerberg" lingers… disregarding that Student Circle is similar to Facebook, BAU however is the first of its kind, if not in the world, most certainly in Africa. The single most way he deserves comparison to Zuckerberg is in his breakthrough concept which encompasses the Nigerian Educational system at its time of dire failure, on the platform of technology. It would be undoubtedly strenuous and dragged to begin discussing the inter-relations between THIS and various market sectors….

    Lastly it would be greatly appreciated, if you could ATTEMPT to name (as you stated), Nigerians on the web doing far better coupled with how their success is greater. I urge you to take time, research, and expand your already impressive IQ *cough*… Gossy is a Zuckerberg in the making.

  4. @Knex From your comments you show a clear lack of knowledge on this benefiting development. Gossy has clearly explained all you need to know, there are various universities world wide that are identified as "American University" so what is the fuss all about. My only advice to you is that before criticizing or passing any unruly judgement always try to get your facts right. And as for the name Nigeria's Mark Zuckerberg he is being identified as; people who saw his amazing handwork on students circle network felt he deserves to be called that, so just deal with it.

  5. @Knex you remind me of what most Nigerians do they sit here and complain and then when a solution arises they still have their own issues. Didn't Mark start from somewhere do you think he became a billionaire overnight. It is ideas like this that grow into something bigger than ourselves. I am so glad that you sit here and say someone lacks initiative or creativity but I am sure if we ask you what you are doing to solve the issue of education you would not have an answer. Please show me a website that is even close to this comparison. Who actually puts out content that makes sense and can educate are people. I hope you reevaluate your comments and do your history before you come on Ynaija bashing others who are trying to make a difference in the world.

  6. @Gloria i love you and your comment is simply the best…oxoxox.. you know, no body wanna see you rising, they just wanna see you deep in crises. see how crappy our educational system is here especially in Nigeria. am surprised that people even have mouth to go against this great idea. @knex go get your facts right cos hommie your so wrong. show me what you have done for your society..then we can start talking from there.

  7. This is a fabulous idea… kudos Mr. Ukanwoke… i'm so looking forward to this.

    @Knex I think your comment is as crappy as your pseudonym (I don't even expect you to know what that means-grab a dico).

    Seeing as you need some schooling in the art of Constructive Criticism, I suggest you put in an application to the uni, and don't forget to properly fill the SCHOlARSHIP form because I have a strong feeling you would need that fin. backing.

    This isn't Ikeji's blog, so kindly tighten the rein on your lips and let them move only in parallel with the properly functioning side of your reasoning faculty.

  8. I love dis ideas so much, send d details tu my inbox.i wil like 2 be part of dis gossy ukanwoke well done(bravo)

  9. How totally crappy is that. A university for Africans called Beni AMERICAN University? I though we'd at least get some insight into the 'American' part of the name.

    Sorry to say I'm weary of people who can not take the time or simply lack the initiative or creativity of coming up with a meaningful name for their business or project or whatever.

    Much as what he's trying to do somehow makes sense, I find it very hard to believe anyone is referring to him as Nigeria's Mark Zuckerberg. Come on! All he has in common with the founder is the 'online website' bit. They do not have the same objective, and from what i've seen there are quite a number of nigerians with online sites doing so much better.

    Pleae maintain a standard with your articles YNaija. This article could've been written in a far better way.


    1. its a pity that we cannot even be proud that our youths are at least doing something..who cares about a name? forget the name and focus on the main point, which is helping other youths accomplish their educational goals. whats crappy here is the Nigerian educational system which is not consistent at all, i wouldn't complain if i had an option..but hey that may be my opinion. as they say u will always get enemies black belle. so what? even if others are doing better this kid is just coming up and he will get better too. be proud of your fellow nigerians instead of talking crap. hush if u dont have anything good to say.seriously SMH. mu advice to Mr.Gossy is u have more lovers that haters so keep your head high up and the future is brighter that u expect.

    2. Hello Knex, how are you? Hope you are doing great and everything is well with you.

      To respond to your question. Why this is an American university?

      The other facts will be published in an interview with Ynaija, but for the purpose of this post, i will give you certain clues.

      1. An American University runs the american curriculum

      2. An American University runs the american school calendar

      3. An American University runs its syllabus, course content from the american system.

      4. An American University uses the american grading system.

      BAU has satisfied all these criteria.

      Nigeria does not have a benchmark for online universities. The only way to maintain standards is to run it through a system that has a benchmark. How can we be accredited in Nigeria when Nigeria has no benchmark to accredit online universities? How can we say we have done it right when we cannot look at set rules and regulations.. which Nigeria doesnt have for online universities.

      We will be deceiving people by not letting them know aforehand that it is an American system based school before they join us. The name in itself tells you what you are getting into.

      For the sake of clarity, kindly research before you jump into conclusions.

      I will not respond to your other comments.

      Thank you for reading about BAU and caring enough to air your concerns. Kindly do so in a nicer way in future.

      Wishing you every success

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