I know there have been many concerns with us, Life Learners, and questions about the academic route for our children who have not done an orthodox education so to speak and want to go on a scholastic path in the future. I may have just the solution for you.
*For those that are not familiar with the term Life Learning, please follow this link http://pragashnienaidoo.co.za/2017/02/23/142/. Life Learning is basically a branch of home-schooling. I encourage you to read the article as you will then gather some understanding of why I am so excited about this journey.
Last year my son discovered an online university called University of the People (UoPeople) which enrolled him into the University with just his GED qualification. Today I am going to talk a little about this university, why I have chosen to be one of the many Ambassadors for the university and how it is THE education revolution that fits in perfectly with my philosophy of education/life, my own financial standard of living, pedagogue and touch on a much more personal note.
Let’s tuck right in! University of the people is a tuition-free, distance learning, non-profit, online institution founded by entrepreneur Shai Reshef in 2009. The institute offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. Currently, the only programs they have are Associates Degree and Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Computer Science and Health Science with the addition of one Graduate Degree a Master’s in Business Administration. I truly believe that UoPeople will expand their horizons in future with the growing need of such universities that work on a global level. I have said this in my other posts, it does not make sense in the technological age that we live in, to be restricted to schools and campuses when we have information at our fingertips and UoPeople offers just that. I am not going to go into much more details about the UoPeople as there is way too much of information to share so I coax you to visit this link https://www.uopeople.edu/ and navigate the easy website for more information. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or the university directly.
So why am I bragging about this University? The university itself encourages intrinsic learning which has given my son the opportunity to grow his education by studying Business Administration, something he is passionate about, which continues to evolve him through a philosophy he is already comfortable with, that is Life Learning. He gets to meet people on a global scale that interact with him at his interest level thus developing more social skills by engaging with people of all ages. This is very much a trait that we are all used to as Life Learners; we take pride in being able to hold conversations with people no matter what their age is and this is exemplified on UoPeople’s educational platform.
He is 1 year away from getting his associates degree while he works on other opportunities that he wishes to use in his future endeavors and all this at the cost of just $100 per course. This was also great for my son who did not have much of a formal education and gives us Life Learners an opportunity (or hope) to let our kids still engage in the world of academics if that is the route that they choose. We can actually stop worrying and know that the GED works at UoPeople. The only unfortunate side is the programs are limited at the moment but as I already mentioned, I can only see this expanding in the future.
Now how did I come into the picture? Well, I looked at how the program was designed when he first started a year ago and thought, this is something that I think I may enjoy doing and so I applied to the university and they accepted my registration. The pedagogue spoke to me, because of the graded continuous assessment that takes place weekly that go towards your cumulative subject grade at the end of the course. I also get to write exams in the comfort of my own home without the added stresses that I have experienced in the past. Some courses are also proctored to ensure the authenticity of the exams which verifies the student and guarantees a standard that aligns with the accrediting agents.
I have very bad memories of distance learning and one of them is being kicked out of University of South Africa twice in my lifetime, simply because I never had the peer and instructor support that we have here. Being an anxious person, I also remember going into the Physics exam room and was so nervous that I got up and left after 10 minutes. But of course, this type of education was not possible 22 years ago and now that I have found a university that aligns with my own method of learning I am going for it.
End of the next term I will be 1 year with UoPeople and like my son, I am enjoying an education from the comfort of my own home (being an introvert too) and getting to engage with so many of my peers that come from all parts of the world and getting to know them and their culture in this process. This tears down the walls that we have put up in terms of boundaries for each country. It gives us the opportunity to communicate at a global level driving greater moments, to even possibly succeed academically at global altitudes. We also get to do this through a medium of common interests, that is, the common courses we take. It is a very interesting, intriguing and an exciting journey, indeed.
Now, we all know that as Life Learners (homeschoolers) there is somewhat a trade-off when it comes to our lifestyle. Money! Most of our homes have one income that we live off or some have businesses from home to be able to compensate for time and the need to heed to the philosophy of Life Learning and sometimes these businesses may not do as well as we want them to do because we have chosen a path of learning through discovery rather than a monetary one. I would never have been able to join my son to study if it was not for the tuition-free part of the university, the affordability of it. I am able to further my education knowing that once I reach the stage of the fledglings leaving the nest, I would be in a viable position to pursue a working career again. I would not have been able to take 2 courses a term either if it was not for the generous scholarships offered by the partners of UoPeople. This also changes things drastically and puts education into the hands of the scholars in a way that we do not have to pay back exorbitant student loans accrued during the full time and part time studies because UoPeople is accessibly affordable.
As Life Learners some of us have been very well acquainted with the gifting society. This brings me to my next point. UoPeople is a non-profit organization that has the global world at heart. It has 6000 volunteers from all over the world who are qualified professionals in their fields to instruct and guide the students through each term. In my opinion ‘Ubuntu’ does not get better than this, a great force of people who give back to society on such a global magnitude and do it with such grace and passion. Without these volunteers, it would not be possible to bring education literally to your fingertips with such an affordable and sustainable system. This right here aligns with everything that my soul has resonated with, since the beginning of my time on earth and my own personal journey in life.
**For those that do not know what Ubuntu means here is a Wikipedia link that has a great explanation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_philosophy.
Just to re-cap and remind you, you are getting integrity, compassion, globalization, and academically driven career opportunities on a magnified global scale and so much more and the University is accredited and has partnered with some of the grander universities like New York University, University of Edinburgh, UC Berkley and Yale Law School ISP. It would be good to also add for my fellow South Africans that South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) recognizes the qualifications from UoPeople (you can actually email SAQA at email@example.com to put your mind at ease)and UoPeople is also American accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) which can be viewed at this link https://www.uopeople.edu/student-experience/quality/accreditation/ UoPeople is certainly an Education Revolution and it certainly speaks my language for the future generations. NO, UoPeople is NOT a scam as some may believe that all this may be too good to be true.
On a much more personal level, it has ignited my passion for natural sciences again. At this age, I never for once thought that I would be pursuing a degree, alongside my son, that too. I may not end up becoming an astronomer as it was my childhood dream but I certainly have a passion for helping people, research, and the natural sciences. My journey of life has taken a different path since I started at UoPeople. I do see a Ph.D. in the future in possibly research Biology, maybe majoring in genetics. Who knows! The other possibility would be to combine my current skills as a writer and pursue a career in medical writing. I all of a sudden can see the world through a different set of lens and I found a purpose to exist again, after a traumatic experience in my life. If I may say so, it keeps the depression at bay and has made me feel great about myself again. I have a driving force to see this through, something I did not particularly have before UoPeople. From the kind and helpful Admissions staff, Administrative staff, my own Personal Program Advisor and the mostly helpful instructors that I have experienced it definitely makes me want to wake up every morning knowing that there are people out there that DO care and do want to see you get up and GO! UoPeople has contributed to my restoration in my faith in humanity again and certainly has rekindled my ambition for life keeping me motivated and headstrong.
Once again, if you have any questions regarding UoPeople, please do not hesitate to contact me or the university directly.