JOHANNESBURG, Tuesday 31 March 2020 – HENLEY Business School Africa today announced that in order to support the transformation of South African education in the current COVID-19 crisis, it will share all its virtual education insights, learning, innovations and methods freely with public and private South African universities and business schools.
The business school pivoted to virtual learning in the weeks leading up to the global pandemic and had already transitioned all its teaching to fully virtual and remote access learning a full 10 days before the implementation of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s mandatory 21-Day nationwide lockdown which began on Friday 27 March 2020.
“We bought technology and developed our own as we saw the crisis evolving in the northern hemisphere,” explains Henley Africa dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley.
“As we began sanitising our campus and implementing physical distancing, we also started training faculty and perfecting our systems to teach in a virtual environment, decentralising both staff and students.”
All of Henley’s classes have continued since the announcement of the lockdown, from the flagship MBA all the way down the school’s unique accredited ladder of business learning courses – with not one of them being held on campus.
“It’s been an outstanding success, which we are continually evolving for life after lockdown into a progressive pedagogy of blended learning. But now we want to share it with the rest of the country to build national capacity. This is not about us having a competitive advantage as a business school but rather helping other institutions continue and evolve their teaching during this time to be in the best shape to recover after the crisis. We will be running workshops on Zoom to share our knowledge with both public and private educators.”
Henley Africa has also pioneered 21 Days – 21 Lessons, a series of 21 seminars for the 21 days of lockdown each lasting 21 minutes to inspire hope but also give practical insight into not just coping with the lockdown but literally preparing for a brand new, very different, life on the outside when the national quarantine is lifted.
“The old normal is gone, we are now in the realm of the unknown which is shaping and informing what will be the new normal when we overcome this pandemic,” explains Foster-Pedley, “we have to be ready for that change and commit the education sector to rebuilding the economy, creating jobs and prosperity.”
Education, especially business leadership education, will be absolutely critical to this, he says, which is why the process has to begin now, not just when the lockdown is lifted.
“At the moment, the injunction is to stay home and flatten the curve of the Coronavirus infections but at the same time we have to build a national capacity. We have a duty too to keep the economy active and the best shape to rebound. Henley has an incredible record here in this country and a very proud record in Europe as the oldest business school in Britain, but this isn’t about us, it’s about all of us – which is why we want to share what we have created for free with other South African universities so that those who haven’t already can move their teaching online without having to re-invent the wheel or experience the teething problems that we had, so that the critical business skills for recovery can be energetically taught.”
Henley Africa is also preparing a series of free Zoom webinars for Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises to be run in the evenings for business owners and entrepreneurs, he says, which will be addressed by some of the top business academics in South Africa, Britain, Germany and Finland, all part of the Henley global faculty.
“In times of crisis, people can give up hope, filled with fear and paralysed by indecision. On the contrary there’s never been a better time to act, to learn and to dispel the rumours and the fake news.
“If there’s ever be a more apt time to do an MBA, here or anywhere else, this is it because we need to upskill aggressively. A top international and flexible MBA will truly give you the skills to make sense of the future which will rapidly become our present reality.”
If you would like to know more about Henley’s virtual learning capabilities for universities contact Dr Adri Drotskie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you like to take part in Henley’s free online seminars for SMMEs, go to www.henleysa.ac.za to find out more.
If you would like to view 21 Days – 21 Lessons, register for free at www.henleysa.ac.za/21-lessons/
- Henley Business School is a leading global business school with campuses in Europe, Asia and Africa. It holds elite triple international accreditation; has the number 1 business school alumni network in the world with the potential to network (Economist 2017); and is the number 1 business school in Africa for executive education (FT 2018), as well as the Number 1 MBA business school in South Africa as rated by corporate SA (PMR.Africa 2018, 2019).