The Team members

Joseph Phiri, 32, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Sectoral Economics and Economics of Enterprise Ph.D.

Md Sahadat Hossain Sagor, 24, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Bachelor in System Engineering and Informatics

First of all, congrats on being one of the winning Teams again!

You’ve been awarded with an additional Education award for your Project ,,Alisinda School of Excellency“. What is your Project about? How did you come up with the Name? 

The project was inspired by the economy, unemployment rates and education in Zambia and Africa in general. With most people unemployed and the employed lacking the skills and soft skills to perform in a corporate environment, this project became a fundamental need. With the help of academics acting as tutors, we hope to teach people skills for entrepreneurship and performing in social and corporate settings. These could be courses like web development and programming, digital marketing in the Covid era, research, project management, data analytics, etc. The name Alisinda came after my late grandfather who dreamed of empowering and educating communities. Basically, to ensure access to quality and affordable skills and education for all – regardless of their social and economic status. We want to ensure that people will get the best quality education through our platform, where most of the tutors must meet the requirements of having a masters or PhD degree on the particular topic they will provide through our platform. 

That’s amazing! Have you put any thought into implementation yet? Especially this whole covid situation with almost all forms of education being held online now might be a very good time to start a project like that.

Yes, we have an implementation plan but we’re facing logistical challenges. We hope to commence the registration process this year and affiliate ourselves with partner institutions for certifications including here in the Czech Republic, Germany, USA and Africa. Our greatest limitations right now are resources for the Ph.D. students and MBA professionals with experience as well as the reward for their service. In the first quarter of the year 2021 we intend to commence legitimising the project and developing content.

Are you thinking of an actual kind of online school as in live tutoring sessions, much like university is taking place right now or more of a platform kind of thing where people can choose courses they are interested in and then gain access to materials for self study and pre-recorded videos? Or a combination of the two? Something else entirely?

Yes, we are thinking of an online school, with pre-recorded content. However, our tutors will do live webinars as consultation for our students once a week. We will also offer extensions to corporations. Through our platform, potential students are free to choose any particular subject they are interested in. There will also be courses for developing a secure career such as in Web development, Data Science, Machine Learning, General ledger accountant, etc.

And what has the experience with your mentor been like? How did you benefit from the collaboration, what was especially helpful to you? 

We benefitted greatly from his guidance on practicality of such a platform and how to best market our project including the need to develop quality content. We hope to continue  with his guidance in the realization of this noble project.

So far, what has been the biggest challenge you have faced during the whole process? 

One of the challenges we had is recruiting tutors as not everyone takes it seriously, though a few have shown interest. The next challenges might include accreditation, getting partner institutions to sign an MOU and perhaps raising extra resources for the full realization of the project. In the interim we hope to commence with content development and developing the website where we’ll need the guidance of our mentors, House of Mentoors and other well wishers. 

Let’s say someone is interested in becoming a tutor for your platform. What should they know beforehand? What are your expectations?

Usually we expect them to be PhD candidates in their field of study or perhaps holders of an MBA or Masters degree coupled with some relevant practicing and working experience. There will also be certain expectations on the quality of video and lecture content. In the meantime though, besides education qualifications, their interest and passion is a factor we are looking for.

So far our commitment is to give them a cut from the certificate payments for the course they will administer. However, those modalities are yet to be finalized.

What is the most valuable thing you have learned from taking part in this challenge? 

To never give up, be patient and to always pursue your passion. Even when a challenge might seem daunting and impossible, we believe in the words of Albert Einstein who once said, „Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate but powerful beyond measure“. With that believe in mind, we want to make the world a better place. Additionally, taking part in the competition required a lot of courage and patience, two things we’ve gained along with the ability to face complicated challenges.

One last question: What is the first thing you’re going to spend the prize money on? 😀

That’s a tough question. The things that need immediate attention are content development, web development and hosting it, also legalization of the idea both in Zambia, and offshore locations. Those will be our initial focus areas.

Thank you to Team Alisinda School of Excellency for their time and insightful answers!