ADvTECH remains Africa’s leading private education provider. Academic excellence is core to our strategy and has enabled us to continue growing our market share, despite the continuing increase of new entrants into the market.
With the advantage of a strong central academic team that supports our learners, students, teachers and lecturers in differentiated brands that live out their own unique identities, we remain at the forefront of private education in the basic, higher and other tertiary education sectors.
Delivering on academic excellence is a critically important part of the group strategy, and the academic strategy is key to the schools and tertiary divisions.
Our brands are known for their high standard of quality education provided to various target markets and communities. Offerings differ per brand based on, inter alia, price, curriculum, examining authority or qualification and augmented non-academic offerings that, together, create the individual identity of the brand and campus. Regardless of the brand or programme/qualification, ADvTECH consistently delivers academic excellence and a tailored student experience, which results in the development of life and tertiary study-ready young people and qualified and competent graduates who are in high demand in the workplace, due to our industry-relevant and work-ready approach
The ADvTECH schools academic team’s objective is to ensure that our students progress incrementally in a learning environment that is inspiring, engaging and challenging.
We continually strive to improve and regard it as essential to align our offering to international standards. The integration of the International Baccalaureate and Cambridge International programmes as well as the participation in external international benchmark assessments such as the ACER (Australian Council of Education Research) are key aspects of our quality assurance. By combining local external assessments with international ones, we have ample data and a clear understanding of how our students are performing in specific learning areas, and receive continuous feedback on the success of our educational efforts in all our schools.
More than ten of the world's top universities, including Harvard, MIT, New York University, Columbia, Cornell and Princeton, returned to Crawford College, Sandton, in 2018 to identify top matriculants to join their programmes in 2019. In recent years, the opportunity to study at these leading universities has seen several Crawford College students excel on the global stage.
ADvTECH hosted the second Tournament of Minds (TOM) held in South Africa. TOM is an international competition, initiated in Australia and conducted in 16 different global regions. Where TOM differs from other international competitions is that the focus is not only on content and process in one discipline, but rather on problem-solving and creative thinking activities involving open-ended challenges. These include experimentation and divergent thinking, while promoting collaboration within teams to develop potential solutions. The challenges are set internationally.
ADvTECH's tertiary division continued to grow its reputation as the leading provider of high-quality private education in the country. In keeping with our commitment to academic excellence, substantial investment ensured that ADvTECH was able to grow its offering and that more students would be able to access our educational offerings, either at state-of-the-art campuses across South Africa, or through industry-leading distance education programmes. Adding to the attractiveness of workplace-focused curricula, prospective students continue to be drawn by the advantage provided through smaller class sizes and resultant personal attention, which is no longer a feature of higher education in many other institutions.
With an average module pass rate of 82%, 101 higher education qualifications offered through Varsity College, Vega and Rosebank College campuses, the Independent Institute of Education (IIE), ADvTECH's higher education division, continued to cement its position as South Africa's leading 'private university'. Our strategic decision to create one higher education provider operating through strongly differentiated brands pays off in the quality of the education offered to students.
The IIE’s five faculties provide 101 accredited qualifications from higher certificate to masters’ level, to almost 40 000 full qualification students. The IIE also offers numerous qualifications through distance learning. This range and scope means that there is a perfect educational opportunity for almost every ambition. Over and above local accreditation through the statutory bodies, the IIE is also accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC), which demonstrates to students and employees that the IIE's standards are indeed world-class and undoubtedly instils confidence in students about the credibility and value of their qualifications. The BAC is an independent authority in the UK that accredits private providers in the UK and elsewhere, including countries such as Greece, Switzerland, Singapore, India, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. Standards are also verified by several other professional and strategic partners.
The IIE's brands placed 2 339 students in their first jobs in 2018. This bears testament to the effectiveness of its approach to work readiness, which includes tailor-made preparation programmes and Career Centres on campus.
Although each brand has its own particular focus and emphasis, the IIE's success can be attributed to its unwavering commitment, on all campuses and in all programmes, to launching and building students' careers, by way of:
- innovative, student-centred teaching and learning, which includes comprehensive student support;
- a strong focus on the constructive alignment of all parts of the curricula;
- industry-relevant curricula based on established industry and academic partnerships which are verified through regular programme reviews and graduate tracking studies;
- learning opportunities that meet the diverse needs of our students, and
- structured programmes on all campuses linking students to the world of work.
The IIE is able to achieve these successes because its model enables it to draw on the skills of all its people. This rich resource offers unmatched access to academic and industry leadership, resulting in curricula and campus experiences being consciously crafted to promote student success. The academic work is coordinated by our central academic team, which boasts impressive and extensive higher education experience and a track record of supporting their qualifications and brands.
There are more than 100 professionals in the central academic team, including academics, instructional designers, professional editors, content developers, programme managers, operations coordinators, business process analysts, business intelligence experts and research and curriculum development specialists. The result is a strong central capacity from which the expertise at the brands and on the campuses can leverage support for the creation of focused and meaningful campus experiences. In particular, for the achievement of the academic deliverables, the academic expertise at brand level is leveraged strongly to supplement the central skills and results in an effective and efficient network.
A measure of the success of this structure is that the IIE has the only DHET accredited and peer reviewed academic journal managed by a private higher education institution. The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning is in its 13th year of publication with two editions annually and is available on open access platforms.
NEW ACADEMIC MARKETS
Statistics have shown that the tourism sector remains one of the fastest-growing economic sectors and ADvTECH, through Capsicum Culinary Studio and The Private Hotel School (TPHS), now has comprehensive academic offerings for those who aim to pursue careers in the hospitality and tourism industry.
The highly skilled teams of professionals at TPHS and Capsicum teach both nationally and internationally accredited courses, and its qualifications and graduates are sought-after in the workplace, both locally and abroad. With eight campuses between the two brands, one of which is a shared campus, both brands provide academic programmes which include practical training and specialised skills that equip students to succeed in the hospitality
and tourism sectors.
TPHS offers qualifications ranging from entry-level qualifications up to a degree in hospitality and events management as well as culinary arts. The curriculum combines innovative and cutting-edge hospitality instruction with sound practical training and knowledge of the industry. Students are trained to master professional skills and obtain high levels of the specialised knowledge required to excel in the hospitality environment. Its qualifications are endorsed by the American Hospitality Academy International Hotel Management Schools (AHA-IHMS), thus allowing students to complete an optional year in the USA.
The school’s alumni rate of employment is a remarkable 100%, which attests to the quality of education offered and workplace recognition thereof.
In the past decade, more than 4 000 chefs have graduated from Capsicum, with many snapped up by leading local and global restaurants. Capsicum offers full-time and part-time City & Guilds recognised courses including a Certificate in Food Preparation and Cooking, Diploma in Patisserie, Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking and the Combination Programme in Culinary Arts.
Oxbridge Academy is one of the largest private distance learning colleges in the country, and serves more than 17 000 students annually. Oxbridge offers students opportunities to gain job-relevant skills and strengthen existing skills and experience with an appropriate qualification or skills course, backed by strong academic and student support from industry experts and tutors. It continues to extend its academic offering and programmes, diversifying and increasing its product offering to make more qualifications and programmes accessible to students opting for distance learning.
The University of Africa (UoA), based in Zambia, offers distance learning qualifications to a growing student base in Southern Africa, including South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
ADvTECH’s tertiary focus across all brands is on building student careers by continuously developing curricula to remain relevant in the world of work. We build strong industry, academic and professional body partnerships that ensure this relevance, while our commitment to student success includes a focus on quality teaching and student support and development. We seek to produce graduates who can, and will, contribute to the economy and society and, as a result, we unquestionably hold the leadership position in private education.
Distinguishing ADvTECH from its historic peers in the education sector is our commitment to innovation through the development of new qualifications, our approach to teaching and learning and our unrivalled provision of student support and service.
A schools and tertiary administration software system, or student information system, was implemented in the schools division in 2018, providing them with consolidated information and high-quality reporting and analytics to generate actionable insights. It provides portals for parents, students and teachers and therefore changed the way we interact and give feedback. It will be further supplemented with analytical tools and internal and external benchmarking.
This new system will enable us to set up common learning management tools to drive best practice and online professional development programmes. The system will also enable us to improve data literacy of teachers and school managers, therefore enabling better data-driven decision making.
We continue to make full use of IIELearn, the Learning Management System (LMS), which supports the teaching and learning strategy to reach more students in the distance mode and enhance the learning experience of our on-campus students.
Increasingly effective online education strategies are being developed and will be implemented in coming years to support our growth in the distance education space. We monitor each new operational feature to ensure that our growth does not compromise the quality of our teaching and learning.
The Bridge, ADvTECH's new assisted learning school, opened in January 2018 and offers alternative solutions for parents and students who are not currently adequately catered for in mainstream or special needs schools. Responding to a significant market demand, The Bridge represents a much-needed opportunity for children with average to above average ability, whose learning is impacted by challenges such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and mild autism or anxiety, or who have been through illness or trauma that affected their progress.
The school assists learners to bridge the gap between where they currently find themselves and what is required in mainstream schools,
in order to help each learner reach their full potential and develop strategies that will enable them to return to a mainstream classroom confidently and empowered. With small classes capped at 12 pupils, an individualised learning approach and therapeutic programmes, The Bridge caters to learners who are cognitively on par or ahead of their peers to address the challenges that have kept them from succeeding in mainstream schools.