South African universities remain in deep crisis, after last year’s violent protests against fee increases that shut down many institutions. There could, however, be a homemade solution to the problem. Over the same period that SA’s university crisis has been escalating, the country’s e-learning space has been developing rapidly. Companies such as Obami, Rethink Education, Rekindle Learning and The Student Hub are attempting to redefine how education is provided and increase access to learning. According to Unesco, South Africa is at the forefront of an African e-learning market that doubled in size between 2011 and 2016. Yet this is not a movement that is peculiar to SA. Ed-tech has powerful backers elsewhere. Dr Christine Ortiz recently left her role as dean for graduate education at MIT to set up a research university that will have no majors, no lectures, and no classrooms, placing tech at the heart of education. Ortiz’s view is that the higher education system in many countries...

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