Revolutionary new campus to open in Durban in 2019

South African education innovators, Craig Duff and Odette Francesconi, who founded Varsity College in Durban in 1991 and were instrumental in the growth and development of the brand for over 25 years, will open a pioneering new educational support and professional development campus in Musgrave, Durban, in January 2019.

Speaking after signing the lease for the Musgrave campus, which will be located at the corner of St Thomas and Stephen Dlamini (Essenwood) Roads, in premises they are leasing from Durban High School (DHS), Francesconi said that NewBridge would draw on the pair’s 50 years of experience in education, campus development and creating next-generation educational institutions. The NewBridge campus has its own entrance and is cordoned off from the school to ensure that its students will be able to enjoy a full campus life.

NewBridge was designed to bridge two important gaps – the gap between school and post-school education and the gap between post-school education and employment.

Currently, an estimated 50% to 60% of students drop out of tertiary education and, of those who graduate, 34% fail to find a job. NewBridge takes students on a journey – preparing them, firstly, for post-school learning, and then for future career opportunities.

Students will receive lectures, tutorial support and mentoring towards a number of online and external distance registered and accredited universities and institutions. Alongside this, a revolutionary teaching methodology, integrated into a professional development and work readiness programme, will ensure that, on completion of their studies, successful students will be academically and practically prepared. The world is so full of young and exciting talent. NewBridge looks to work with, and nurture, this talent to enable students to mature and prepare for the working world that awaits them.

“Millennials face an exciting and dynamic future. It is predicted that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 do not exist today which presents a remarkable challenge as well as an exciting opportunity for those who are properly equipped and prepared. We seek to develop future critical thinkers, graduates who are empowered to continually evolve and diversify and ultimately shape their own futures,” Duff explains.

To support a fully rounded experience, NewBridge will provide a platform for students to engage in a vibrant campus culture where learning, socialising and networking can take place within a safe and secure environment.

Central to NewBridge’s philosophy is small class sizes which allows for interaction on a more personal level. Small classes allow innovation to thrive, giving each student the opportunity to engage in discussions, improving student achievement, understanding and mastery.

Dr Craig Blewett, a leader in innovative 21st-century teaching approaches, is guiding the NewBridge team on the development of active and effective technology-enhanced teaching that is compatible with the evolving fourth industrial revolution that is unfolding.

“Teaching our students with approaches from the past in order to prepare them for the future is like trying to use a chalkboard to launch a mission to Mars. How we educate students has to change given the massive shift in society that technology has brought about. It’s time for a new education model,” he points out.

DHS Head Master, Mr A D Pinheiro, agrees that it is time to rethink tertiary studies.

“With the landscape of education being on the cusp of major changes, it is imperative that we make teaching, learning, lecturing and studying far more relevant to future needs. Durban High School shares this educational philosophy, which is why we are excited to have NewBridge leasing premises within our grounds. We believe that our learners, as well as the greater Durban community, will benefit from this forward-thinking approach.”

The Musgrave campus will accommodate 200 first year students and a total of 500 students. “Our years of experience in running campuses, tell us that a campus of this size ensures that students receive the support and focus that they deserve, while still ensuring the student body is large enough to enjoy a vibrant student life,” says Campus Principal Roger Collins.

A second campus will open in Kloof in 2019 for a 2020 intake.. Johannesburg will be next and the pair plan to roll out at least three to four campuses in each major city over the next five years.

The annual fees at NewBridge will be under R60 000. This fee includes all external exam fees and NewBridge’s unique academic and professional development and work readiness programmes.

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