With high tertiary education fees and lack of access to institutions, many young people are turning to the internet to further their studies via massive open online courses offered by platforms such as ALISON, which it says has delivered or is delivering courses to over a million Africans.

ALISON offers a mixture of free courses in a wide variety of subjects, as well as 750 diploma and certificate courses which require a fee to issue qualifications.

Subjects offered include, English language skills, information technology (including specialist software courses), human resources, business management, history, law, photography, tourism and science.

“In Africa where education resources and access is low and traditionally qualified people scarce, certification from ALISON is often the next best alternative when it comes to assessing candidates,” says Mike Feerick, ALISON CEO and founder.

“For example if 100 people apply for a job in a hospital but all are unqualified to do the job, the person in line with a diploma in nursing studies from ALISON might just have the edge on the person with no qualifications and they can be tested on what they know on the spot.”

“The proliferation of mobile technology will further fuel the demand for online learning. Access to technology and digital literacy skills remains a problem but the spread of mobile technology in Africa offers significant opportunities for more people, regardless of financial circumstances or location, to access basic skills, and also advanced training online,” Feerick added.

According to recent stats from ALISON, over 23% of learners accessed ALISON via mobile in May this year, many of them from Africa.

The growth of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has been rapid over the last few years, with traditional institutions such as Wits recently announcing programs for higher learning.