ADVANCED APPROACH - JSE MAGAZINE

ADVANCED APPROACH

As a strong player in the global edtech arena, Adapt IT is well-placed to provide tailored solutions for tertiary-education institutions

Adapt IT is a leader in specialised software and digitally-led business solutions, covering multiple industries, including education, manufacturing, financial services, energy, telecoms and hospitality, as well as the public sector.

The company has been providing higher-education solutions for more than 35 years. ‘These solutions are focused on enabling and supporting higher-education institutions in streamlining day-to-day processes in the administration and academic realms,’ says Luxolo Rubushe, MD of Adapt IT Education. ‘Key components cover student information systems, digital teaching and learning, data security and compliance, campus management as well as statutory reporting.’ Adapt IT has successfully serviced its client base across three continents through the ITS Integrator solution (aimed at medium to large institutions), while Wisenet and Artena support small to medium institutions. Adapt IT is a significant player in private higher education through its ICAS product.

Rubushe emphasises that the company’s partnership with Moodle has enabled Adapt IT to provide an integrated solution that covers student information, as well as digital teaching and learning. ‘Our Moodle offering has realised significant demand in the market, and we continue responding to the needs of our customers,’ he says.

Luxolo Rubushe, Adapt IT Education MD

One of the key advantages of Adapt IT Education is the fact that it supports the entire product value chain, encompassing product development and enhancement; system implementation and training; a dedicated support team with a focus on universities, colleges, private higher-education institutions; and the Adapt IT private cloud, which allows the company to provide hosting as well as related support services.

According to Rubushe, higher education has witnessed a significant shift in the past three years. These changes were influenced by various factors, including a growing number of higher-education enrolments. In an SA context, the #FeesMustFall campaign by students resulted in a higher allocation by the state to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, proving opportunities to students who otherwise might not have been able to afford post-school education.

Another factor is the increasing use of advanced technologies, which has had multiple effects on the higher-education sector. The global higher-education software market is expected to reach $35 809 million by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 21.1%. Significant investment has been made – and continues to be made – in education, both at K12 as well as post-school education levels.

In addition, the introduction of, inter alia, cloud technologies has reduced barriers to entry for new players, and made it feasible to scale fast and cost effectively. The shift to student centricity has been hastened by the emergence and impact of the pandemic. This has necessitated advanced development in student self-service solutions, including the provision of digital learning solutions. The internet of things has enabled anytime and anywhere access to solutions   and services, primarily using multiple devices, including wearables.

Yet another factor that has prompted change is collaboration between organisations and institutions, resulting in partnerships aimed at providing timely solutions to students and administrators at large. Adapt IT is proud of having pioneered partnerships with institutions of higher learning, particularly in Southern Africa. These have created platforms for the joint development, testing and roll-out of solutions.

One example is with the Namibia University of Science and Technology, where Adapt IT pioneered the introduction of Chatbot technology in higher education. Another example is the successful collaboration with Durban University of Technology on the use of biometric technology to manage access to lecture halls and examination venues. Other partnerships extend towards identity authentication of students and degree certificates.

Adapt IT knows that technological literacy is key to preparing the youth and, developing the economy

Adapt IT is encouraged by the opportunities that continue to open, particularly in the international market. These are influenced by increasing student mobility, especially in the Asia Pacific region. Adapt IT acquired Wisenet, a leading software-as-a-service business aimed at taking full advantage of this mobility in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. ‘We are particularly proud that Wisenet has also been declared a finalist in the international cloud-computing awards programme, the Cloud Awards,’ says Rubushe. ‘Now in its tenth year, the Cloud Awards seek to identify, promote and celebrate innovation in cloud computing. We certainly believe that these solutions are scalable and a perfect fit for high-value markets across the world.’

Governments, noting the impact of COVID-19, have also stepped in and intervened, both in terms of funding as well as re-aligning policies to encourage a new way of learning. The provision of devices as well as partnerships with solution providers to manage data costs and enable the use of online teaching and learning applications are a few notable examples.

Rubushe highlights some of the key challenges to overcome as technological assimilation by faculties in institutions of higher learning. ‘Technological literacy is key, and it is important that institutions invest significantly in the training of staff, as well as the re-aligning business processes, policies and incentives to this new reality,’ he says. Challenges of data privacy continue to test the higher-education sector, and investments have been made in, among other things, countering plagiarism and proctoring solutions to overcome these challenges.

The acquisition of Adapt IT by Volaris presents significant opportunities for growth, not only in developing markets but in developed markets too. As Rubushe puts it, ‘founded in South Africa, and supporting over 3 million students globally, Adapt IT has continued to prioritise the needs of its customers, spurring on innovation and agility in product development, solution delivery and support’.

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