Eiffel Corp, one of Africa’s leading digital education companies, believes that gaining and building the trust of their educators and institutions in delivering world-class education to students, is the reason they have been successful over the past 22 years having expanded their services across Africa and abroad.
Founders Andre and Gwen Van der Merwe are both passionate about education and extremely proud to have been at the forefront of popularising learning technology in universities throughout Africa. Their pioneering spirit has enabled Eiffel Corp to the level of an industry leader and a respected contributor to digital education innovation.
According to CEO Ian Light, Eiffel Corp attributes their success to the ability, throughout their journey, to gain and build the trust of customers whilst assisting them to maximise the use and value of their tech investment.
“At Eiffel Corp, we are fanatical about investing in human capital at university level, in fact, our approach is advising universities to spend less on flashy expensive tech and more on professional development for their staff as well as solutions that have lasting value and applicable outcomes,” says Light. Fit-for-purpose LMS’s (Learning Management Systems) have been a success in the African arena as a functioning and contextualised platform that help universities offer many more learners’ access to quality education even with challenges in place. Eiffel Corp’s systems and approach have helped thousands of learners reach their learning potential to date and they aim to do everything possible to increase access and quality with every new partner and community they work in.
Light explains that Africa has significantly more challenges to overcome than other parts of the world as the socio-economic and political landscape in Africa is very different, which consequently affects factors such as access to education, infrastructure and funding. Creating access to learning through traditional education facilities i.e. bricks and mortar, has been an ongoing challenge to many governments and providers across Africa. Resources and access to funding have always been and will continue to be a challenge for African universities. This also provides an opportunity to innovate as only Africans can and in this lies a real opportunity to thrive,” said Light.
Stefan du Plessis, Chief Commercial Officer at Eiffel Corp, goes on to explain that Eiffel Corp’s focus is innovation, not invention and understands that it is impossible for one organisation to solve learners and partners problems on their own. “Apart from our own research and development, we keep abreast of the latest digital developments across various sectors and continuously explore how we can leverage these to address partner challenges,” says Du Plessis. “EdTech is definitely working in Africa and although there are numerous obstacles, African organisations have come up with some of the most innovative solutions to resolve the challenges. Our educational institutions have been at the forefront of digital adoption for many years. With the next level of unprecedented global growth to come from this continent; it is important that we understand that organisations invest in EdTech solutions to make quality education accessible and impactful to everyone. Eiffel Corp has the experience to deliver fit for purpose EdTech solutions across our continent and that is why we are successful,” Du Plessis added.
Eiffel Corp Director of Digital Learning Services, Myles Thies says there is still a lot to be done throughout Africa. According to Thies, capable and dependable infrastructure is still lacking in places and access to information and the internet is well below other parts of the developing world. Additionally, authorities in many African countries have only just started or are still in the early stages of enabling digital economies and strategies. “Pockets have emerged that are showing how fast things can be changed and caught up. One of the great benefits of being a latecomer to the development party is that countries can apply the latest innovations without the complicated legacy of past technology and regulation,” said Thies. “Additionally, demographically, according to The World Economic Forum, Africa has the fastest growing and youngest population in the world which puts it at the forefront of growth potential ahead of everyone else. Leveraging these advantages, Africa can build its own digital future both quickly and sustainably,” Thies explained.
“The difference between achieving success or not will depend on leadership and consistently sound decision making over time to support that digital future. Africa needs strong democratic principles at every level of society, founded on established rights and principles, so that all individuals are enabled and free to contribute in their small way to that future,” Thies commented.
Light says he would like to see Eiffel Corp continue their mission to improve education throughout Africa. “We are proudly African, and we would like to continue working alongside our African compatriots and colleagues to ensure they achieve the best possible outcomes for their investments with fit for purpose technology, training, innovation and local support”, says Light.
“We have come to realise over the past few years that the big international corporates often have impressive sales and marketing messages, but they do not carry the experience, relationships or local knowledge needed in our African market. We believe the time has come for African based organisations to collaborate and support our local institutions with the best available technology pioneered right here in South Africa. Africa has the skills and expertise required, institutions no longer need to look at expensive foreign technology,” he concluded.