A partnership spanning 18 years between three individuals dedicated to an institution that produced the very best teachers, culminated recently in the launch of Embury Institute for Higher Education’s new Musgrave Campus. One of three new state-of-the-art facilities, the campus – the former synagogue on the old Essenwood Road whose façade still stands – is home to some 1 400 contact learning students, and services many more through its professional development and distance learning programmes.
Embury is no longer owned by the original partnership but one of the partners, the CEO, Johan Human, remains at the helm. His continuing leadership has ensured the heart of Embury has never wavered with an unrelenting focus on academic excellence, continuous improvement and student success. Embury, though, is now part of Stadio Holdings, a company with a focus on tertiary education in South Africa and its neighbouring countries.
“For Dan, Edwina and I”, recounts CEO, Johan Human, “we grew from a one room operation all those years ago into an institution that now trains over 2 000 teachers across Gauteng, KZN and distance learning. Without Stadio’s support, that kind of growth would not have been possible.”
Stadio, which is an independently listed JSE entity within the PSG Group, is home to some of the country’s most sought-after, niched independent higher education brands including LISOF (London Institute of Fashion), AFDA (The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance), Milpark Education and SBS (Southern Business School).
Embury’s Musgrave Campus also helps place the City of Durban firmly at the forefront of a recent global technological revolution which has extended to all facets of society, including education. Located at 75 Silverton Road, an extra-ordinary investment and effort was made to merge teaching and learning technologies in the classroom. In fact, Embury Musgrave’s start-up tech bill ran into many zeroes, but so has its student satisfaction index. The result is a high-end, tech-supported solution to help alleviate the stress on public universities to train teachers in a country with a severe shortage.
The overall tech drive, though, also places Embury Musgrave at the spearhead of a recent tech-boom which has seen Durban named as “The New Tech City” and “South Africa’s next Silicon Valley” at the Innovation Festival hosted by the city last year.
This revolution, described as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has been characterised by an increased closeness between emerging technologies and humans for the benefit of improved systems and communication.
The evolution of technology in the education sector is also high on the portfolio agenda of Higher Education Minister, Naledi Pandor, who recognised the potential opportunities and transformative nature of this revolution in her budget speech last month. Embury’s contribution to this agenda is the creation of a learning environment which encourages future teachers to transform the teaching process through the use of technology. Well-adapted teachers are then able to build capacity and advance science and technology by modelling learning through the digital world.
Embury also promotes and supports a “Bring Your Own Device” policy which encourages future teachers to equip themselves and bring their own notebook or tablet devices to class. They are then enabled with dedicated, high-speed Wi-Fi access connecting them to Embury’s resource-rich network and Embury Connect & Interact (ECI, Embury’s online learning management system) – the heart of Embury’s collaborative environment. This policy is encouraged with the intention that Embury’s future teachers will use the skills gained through constant digital interaction to build systems for learning which enhance their technological capacity.
Classrooms and lecture theatres on the new Musgrave campus are also purpose-fit, focus-designed spaces equipped with revolutionary wireless collaboration and presentation systems. Both lecturers and students benefit from the system which comprises multi-touch work screens. It is however the collaborative nature of the technology that presents the most value to the learning experience. Remote collaboration via video link between classrooms on three campuses across the Embury network in Gauteng and KZN means immediate material delivery with content sharing, creating a fully immersive teaching and learning experience.
For more information about our Durban Musgrave Campus, about Embury, or to book a tour of our facilities, please call our Chief Commercial Officer on 082 376 0799 or 031 303 7390, or visit our website: www.embury.ac.za.