TOPICA

Hot on the heels of Kyna.vn’s seven-digit seed funding, another Vietnam-based edtech company Topica has announced it has signed a landmark deal: a partnership with leading US-based online learning platform Coursera.

Through this pact, Vinh University in Vietnam will become one of the first educational institutes to recognise credits from some of Coursera’s 1,800 online courses provided by top universities across the globe, including Stanford, John Hopkins University, and University of Michigan.

Students will be able to access online video courses, have discussions with tutors via live video and discussion forums on the Topica-Vinh University online degree platform, and gain credits towards a Vinh University Bachelor’s degree programme.

On completion of the course, they will also receive Coursera Certificates.

The pilot courses will involve 30 students who are enrolled in the Topica-Vinh University online Bachelor’s program. They will take courses based on Financial Engineering and Risk Management.

If the pilot is successful, Topica will scale this model up across thousands of students, 11 university partners across Philippines and Vietnam, and 30-50 per cent of the courses required for a Bachelor’s degree.

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They are expected to only pay an annual tuition of under US$1,000 including all content, tutoring, support services, exams, and credits – about one-fifth to one-twentieth of what American online degree programs are currently charging.

“What Coursera provides to learners is content from top universities that you might not be able to access, either because you don’t live in the country where the schools are based or you don’t have time to enroll in the full-time programme. So we offer that access and also a number of services to help students complete the programme,” said Rebecca Taber, Head of Government Partnerships at Coursera, in an official press statement.

Topica claims to be experiencing consistently good retention rates, for which it credits its innovative blended learning platform – 92 per cent of students complete the first trimester and 82 per cent complete all courses (12 to 15 courses) within a year.

The blended learning comprises of live tutoring, forum discussions, occasional face-to-face sessions, timely support services, gamification mechanics, 3D simulations, student drop-out prediction and prevention techniques.

“Partnering with Coursera is part of a disruptive plan to improve career opportunities for students in the emerging markets. It gives them access to high quality content from top universities, together with our tutoring and support services that have delivered world-class retention rates at a fraction of the usual tuition cost. Our mission from day one has been: ‘Match global quality, help millions study,'” said Pham Minh Tuan, Founder and CEO of Topica Edtech Group.

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The Topica Edtech Group currently employs a team of 1,000 staff and 1,800 instructors in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Among its other programmes include Topica Native, which provides online English speech tutoring courses in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Topica also manages the Thailand and Vietnam chapters of the Silicon-Valley accelerator Founder Institute, whose graduates have raised million dollars funding rounds. Last year, Topica acquired Hanoi-based co-working Hub.IT with the aim of scaling up its incubation programmes.