The first of its kind in South Africa, a new online teaching platform will help students get to grips with key financial and accounting concepts in their mother tongue.
UCT's College of Accounting has collaborated with Fasset (Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority) and GetSmarter to launch 'Learn Accounting' which offers video-based learning on key financial and accounting concepts.
The programme will help universities graduate more black accounting students and ultimately also boost their numbers in a sector in which the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) reports sluggish transformation. A mere 24% of chartered accountants in SA are black, in spite of numerous initiatives and bursary programmes to reverse the trend.
Ten-minute videos in Xhosa, Zulu and English provide concise explanations of specific concepts and complex financial terminology in the areas of financial skills, financial reporting and management accounting.
"These are all key foundational concepts necessary to understand both basic and more advanced business and accounting concepts," explained the College of Accounting's Associate Professor Jacqui Kew.
Additional videos in other languages such as Sotho are planned, but this is dependent on funding.
"Language barriers are a huge obstacle to many students," said Kew. It's the reason so many non-English-speaking students in the field of accountancy don't complete degrees.
For many students from disadvantaged backgrounds, learning the language of business is akin to learning a new language.
"There is a double translation process that needs to happen," added Kew. "They need to understand accounting concepts at the same time as interpreting nuances in the English language."
In addressing this educational challenge, the college opted for a video platform, a medium familiar to young students. It also allows them to learn at their own pace and in almost any place.
The platform facilitates research on the efficacy of online and multi-lingual learning and will help the college refine the programme, with potential for rollout in other subjects.
"This is an innovative approach to learning accounting concepts and opens up the business world to more South Africans," said Kew. "It's a rich partnership between a government institution, a private technology provider and a university, pooling our strengths to show what we can achieve together."
The material was scripted and presented by UCT lecturers and translated into Xhosa and Zulu by accounting lecturers from the Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape and an academic from Wits University.
To check out the new platform go to www.learnaccounting.uct.ac.za. You don't have to be a student to register and explore – the platform is open to anyone interested in learning more about accounting and finance.
Report supplied. Image by Michael Hammond.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please view the republishing articles page for more information.