Chris van der Merwe. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Chris van der Merwe. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Stadio Holdings, the PSG-aligned private tertiary education specialist that listed late in 2017, looks set to establish medical and engineering schools in the next three years.

Stadio will establish its own engineering faculty and is exploring partnerships in the public and private sectors with regard to the education and training of doctors.

An investment presentation made in Cape Town on Tuesday showed plans for 10 faculties including "engineering and manufacturing" and "health and medical sciences" as part of a strategy to establish Stadio as a "multiversity" with a broad and affordable product range.

Divya Singh, the chief academic officer at Stadio, said the company planned to have the medical faculty in place and operational by 2021, with the engineering faculty open by 2020, with 2021 as an "outer limit". She cautioned that the setting up of the faculties would require regulatory approvals (including engagements with professional councils).

In line with Stadio’s focus on qualifications that increased the employability of students, Singh said the engineering faculty planned to offer three-year degrees to produce graduates who could be employed as engineering technicians and technologists. "This is based on feedback we have received from engineering and industrial companies, as well as what we have observed in the sector."

The envisaged medical facility would not be a stand-alone Stadio faculty, but a public-private partnership with one or more well-positioned and entrenched players, she said.

Stadio CEO Chris van der Merwe pointed out that top medical schools in SA were only able to enrol a small percentage of the qualifying applicants.

The ability to offer engineering and medical degrees would support the national agenda of widening access to higher education, he said. Stadio, which was initially launched in private schools business Curro Holdings, had been working on establishing courses for its multiversity offering for the past three years, he said.

Anthony Clark, an analyst at Vunani Securities, said Stadio looked well placed to capture the latent demand for quality private tertiary education, especially if the new Cabinet led by President Cyril Ramaphosa was intent on re-energising the economy via industrial-led growth. Tertiary courses offering professional and industrial qualifications were sorely lacking in SA, Clark said.

Stadio’s share price closed 3.37% higher at R6.74.