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Easy access to distance learning in the North

Easy access to distance learning in the North

By Albin Jacobs

MD of Southern Business School of Namibia

Higher education has evolved over the last few years. Fortunately, the sector has evolved to a point where access to higher education can be provided through a variety of modes.

From distance education, to e-learning, to full time or part times modes, there is literary a mode for everyone. Unfortunately, many Namibians still only look at full time or part time options. The reality is that distance education and e-learning has broadened access to higher education and it has developed into the new frontiers for higher education.

This is especially true for working professionals, or for those that for some reason did not have the opportunity, money or time to study straight out of high school. Many Namibians will never have the opportunity to be full time students, or have a scholarship to fund their studies, creating their own opportunity to improve themselves.

With Namibia being such a large and sparsely populated country, access to tertiary education remains a challenge, this is one of the reasons that most higher education institutions have developed regional campuses. It allows people there to access tertiary education as well. Despite these regional campuses, access to tertiary education remains a challenge for many. Distance learning is becoming a viable option for many Namibians, especially when people know the certificates, diplomas and degrees are NQA-recognised, as Southern Business School Namibia’s courses are.

Higher Education institutions like SBS Namibia play an important role in educating Namibia. Distance learning and e-learning have become an integral and vital part of the education landscape. This is the reason that apart from SBS Namibia’s head office in Windhoek and its bi-annual registration roadshow, it has now opened an office in Ongwediva in the Oshana region. On the 28th of May 2018, this Centre will start to enrol students for the first time.

Professionals and students alike aspire to climb the corporate ladder, the surest way of doing this is through educational self-development. With the opening of an office in Ongwediva, it will be easier for people in the northern regions to register, seek out information and just talk to someone about the possibilities of distance learning. With towns like Oshakati, Outapi, Eenhana and Oshikango not too far away and Ongwediva truly being a hub for Northern Namibia, it is the perfect place to cater to students.

Distance learning is a form of learning that allows you to develop and invest in yourself, your career and intellect. Even if you are in full time employment. Which means you won’t see a drop in salary whilst pursuing an education, potential loss of salary is often a reason for not pursuing further education.

Distance learning is often stimulated by employers and even paid for, as they don’t lose an employee they have invested time and money in. They also realise they are going to get a better prepared, educated and developed employee in return.

With distance learning, there’s no commuting to classes, so there’s no transportation costs, or babysitting and work issues. You can study from the comfort of your own home, even in your pyjamas, if you want. It is also a very affordable choice. There are no expensive campuses to maintain and almost everything is done digitally, this allows for significant savings that can and are passed on to the students. All you need is access to a good internet connection.

Internet, e-mail, chat-groups like WhatsApp and other forms of technology allow for a wealth of up-to-date information to be available to distance students. Whereas, outdated textbooks and syllabi are often still the norm in traditional tertiary institutes. Distance learning is truly interactive and the support network through the chat-apps adds an extra dimension for the students.

Distance learning is not learning in isolation or a vacuum, there’s a network with other students, lecturers and tutors are all online. Students still work together, have sounding boards and people to learn from. This is very much a part of the education process in distance learning. There are even dedicated forums and chatrooms online for the students to interact and share ideas. Giving you the tools you need to succeed in earning your next certificate or degree.

You learn in your own time at your own pace. The accreditation of the degrees, certificates is essential for a successful distance learning experience. Too many colleges offer worthless degrees or certificates. Academic Institutes like Southern Business School of Namibia are accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority and recognised by the Namibian Qualifications Authority. This is vital if the degree or certificate is to help in furthering your professional or academic career.

Distance learning is an effective and successful way to continue your education while working from the comfort of your own home. With the opening of a Northern Office in Ongwediva, the choice to pursue an education has never been easier. The pace and schedule of learning are entirely in your hands.


About The Author

Sanlam 2018 Annual Results

7 March 2019

 

Sanlam’s 2018 annual results provides testimony to its resilience amid challenging operating conditions and negative investment markets

Sanlam today announced its operational results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2018. The Group made significant progress in strategic execution during 2018. This included the acquisition of the remaining 53% stake in SAHAM Finances, the largest transaction concluded in the Group’s 100-year history, and the approval by Sanlam shareholders of a package of Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) transactions that will position the Group well for accelerated growth in its South African home market.

Operational results for 2018 included 14% growth in the value of new life insurance business (VNB) on a consistent economic basis and more than R2 billion in positive experience variances, testimony to Sanlam’s resilience in difficult times.

The Group relies on its federal operating model and diversified profile in dealing with the challenging operating environment, negative investment markets and volatile currencies. Management continues to focus on growing existing operations and extracting value from recent corporate transactions to drive enhanced future growth.

The negative investment market returns and higher interest rates in a number of markets where the Group operates had a negative impact on growth in operating earnings and some other key performance indicators. This was aggravated by weak economic growth in South Africa and Namibia and internal currency devaluations in Angola, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Substantial growth in Santam’s operating earnings (net result from financial services) and satisfactory growth by Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) and Sanlam Corporate offset softer contributions from Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) and Sanlam Investment Group (SIG).

Key features of the 2018 annual results include:

Net result from financial services increased by 4% compared to the same period in 2017;

Net value of new covered business up 8% to R2 billion (up 14% on a consistent economic basis);

Net fund inflows of R42 billion compared to R37 billion in 2017;

Adjusted Return on Group Equity Value per share of 19.4% exceeded the target of 13.0%; and

Dividend per share of 312 cents, up 8%.

Sanlam Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ian Kirk said: “We are satisfied with our performance in a challenging operating environment. We will continue to focus on managing operations prudently and diligently executing on our strategy to deliver sustainable value to all our stakeholders. The integration of SAHAM Finances is progressing well. In addition, Sanlam shareholders approved the package of B-BBEE transactions, including an equity raising, at the extraordinary general meeting held on 12 December 2018. Our plan to implement these transactions this year remains on track.”

Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) net result from financial services declined by 5%, largely due to the impact of new growth initiatives and dampened market conditions. Excluding the new initiatives, SPF’s contribution was 1% down on 2017 due to the major impact that the weak equity market performance in South Africa had on fund-based fee income.

SPF’s new business sales increased by 4%, an overall satisfactory result under challenging conditions. Sanlam Sky’s new business increased by an exceptional 71%. Strong growth of 13% in the traditional individual life channel was augmented by the Capitec Bank credit life new business recognised in the first half of 2018, and strong demand for the new Capitec Bank funeral product. The Recurring premium and Strategic Business Development business units also achieved strong growth of 20%, supported by the acquisition of BrightRock in 2017. Glacier new business grew marginally by 1%. Primary sales onto the Linked Investment Service Provider (LISP) platform improved by 5%, an acceptable result given the pressure on investor confidence in the mass affluent market. This was however, offset by lower sales of wrap funds and traditional life products.

The strong growth in new business volumes at Sanlam Sky had a major positive effect on SPF’s VNB growth, which increased by 7% (14% on a comparable basis).

Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) grew its net result from financial services by 14%. Excluding the impact of corporate activity, earnings were marginally up on 2017 (up 8% excluding the increased new business strain).

New business volumes at SEM increased by 20%. Namibia performed well, increasing new business volumes by 22% despite weak economic conditions. Both life and investment new business grew strongly. Botswana underperformed with the main detractor from new business growth being the investment line of business, which declined by 24%. This line of business is historically more volatile in nature.

The new business growth in the Rest of Africa portfolio was 68% largely due to corporate activity relating to SAHAM Finances, with the East Africa portfolio underperforming.

The Indian insurance businesses continued to perform well, achieving double-digit growth in both life and general insurance in local currency. The Malaysian businesses are finding some traction after a period of underperformance, increasing their overall new business contribution by 3%. New business production is not yet meeting expectations, but the mix of business improved at both businesses.

SEM’s VNB declined by 3% (up 6% on a consistent economic basis and excluding corporate activity). The relatively low growth on a comparable basis is largely attributable to the new business underperformance in East Africa.

Sanlam Investment Group’s (SIG) overall net result from financial services declined by 6%, attributable to lower performance fees at the third party asset manager in South Africa, administration costs incurred for system upgrades in the wealth management business and lower earnings from equity-backed financing transactions at Sanlam Specialised Finance. The other businesses did well to grow earnings, despite the pressure on funds under management due to lower investment markets.

New business volumes declined by 13% mainly due to market volatility and low investor confidence in South Africa. Institutional new inflows remained weak for the full year, while retail inflows also slowed down significantly after a more positive start to the year. The international businesses, UK, attracted strong new inflows (up 57%).

Sanlam Corporate’s net result from financial services increased by 4%, with the muted growth caused by a continuation of high group risk claims experience. Mortality and disability claims experience weakened further in the second half of the year, which is likely to require more rerating of premiums in 2019. The administration units turned profitable in 2018, a major achievement. The healthcare businesses reported satisfactory double-digit growth in earnings, while the Absa Consultants and Actuaries business made a pleasing contribution of R39 million.

New business volumes in life insurance more than doubled, reflecting an exceptional performance. Single premiums grew by 109%, while recurring premiums increased by a particularly satisfactory 56%.

The good growth in recurring and single premium business, combined with modelling improvements, supported a 64% (71% on a comparable economic basis) increase in the cluster’s VNB contribution.

Following a year of major catastrophe events in 2017, Santam experienced a relatively benign claims environment in 2018. Combined with acceptable growth in net earned premiums, it contributed to a 37% increase in gross result from financial services (41% after tax and non-controlling interest). The conventional insurance book achieved an underwriting margin of 9% in 2018 (6% in 2017).

As at 31 December 2018, discretionary capital amounted to a negative R3.7 billion before allowance for the planned B-BBEE share issuance. A number of capital management actions during 2018 affected the balance of available discretionary capital, including the US$1 billion (R13 billion) SAHAM Finances transaction. Cash proceeds from the B-BBEE share issuance will restore the discretionary capital portfolio to between R1 billion and R1.5 billion depending on the final issue price within the R74 to R86 price range approved by shareholders.

Looking forward, the Group said economic growth in South Africa would likely remain weak in the short to medium term future, and would continue to impact efforts to accelerate organic growth. The outlook for economic growth in other regions where the Group operates is more promising. Recent acquisitions such as the SAHAM transaction should also support operational performance going forward.

“We remain focused on executing our strategy. We are confident that we have the calibre of management and staff to prudently navigate the anticipated challenges going forward,” Mr Kirk concluded.

Details of the results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2018 are available at www.sanlam.com.