UpLearn | Scalabrini

Our UpLearn programme runs online degrees using a blended learning approach. To find out more, please email info@scalabrini.org.za.

Our Objective

To support and grow self-regulated learners pursuing online degrees using a blended learning approach. 

Programme Overview

UpLearn, launched in 2018, works in partnership with the non-profit Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) to support 150 migrants and refugees to obtain fully accredited competency-based Associates and Bachelor’s degrees at no cost to the students. The degrees offered include Communications, Management, and Healthcare Management.   

UpLearn is a part of the Global Education Movement (GEM) launched by SNHU in 2018 in four different countries: South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, and Lebanon. The project is grounded in SNHU’s pioneering work with vulnerable learners and refugees in Rwanda. Based on this model, the University has partnered with Scalabrini to facilitate the delivery of a blended learning programme. Together, we address the reality that worldwide there are more than 65 million refugees and other displaced peoples and only 1% have access to higher education. The objective of the initiative is to give those who may be prohibited from accessing tertiary education by financial or legal barriers an opportunity to empower themselves through education.   

The programme facilitates the successful online learning of its students through a comprehensive support system which includes: a pre-degree programme that offers academic English classes and digital literacy training, a learning centre which includes a computer lab and a classroom, printed resources, in-lab academic assistance, case-by-case welfare support, interactive teaching seminars, enrichment workshops and activities, a weekly English club, one-on-one coaching, internship placement support, and professional development workshops. 

To find out more about SNHU click here.


UpLearn is a blended learning programme that offers academic, wellbeing and professional development services, training and support to students who receive a 2-year scholarship from the Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) to complete an online, competency-based Associate of Science General Studies (AS GST) degree. To apply for the January 2022 enrollment, submit this Google Form: https://forms.gle/PuhjXGRJYzqBjZ5v7
For more information about the admissions process, eligibility requirements and details about the AS GST degree programme as well as the expectations and access to support services at UpLearn see the Google Form application link above.

Deadline to apply is 9 November 2021 or until we reach 400 applicants.

There is no application or registration fee. It is completely free to apply.

Focus Areas

1. Coaching
Coaching is designed to be a source of consistency, security, accountability and motivation for students. Coaches not only monitor student progress, but also aim to equip students with the necessary life habits and skills needed to ensure academic success. Through regular meetings, students are guided to realize potential solutions to problems, create realistic study schedules and targets, and overcome challenges in the way of academic and personal success. Transference of academic support skills within the domains of time-management, self-management, environmental management, and resource management are core components of the coaching relationship and function. In supporting a student holistically with their academic progress, academic coaches are responsible for ensuring that appropriate academic interventions are implemented when needed and that a student is connected to and informed of available resources. UpLearn academic coaches are also trained to facilitate psycho-social referrals that extend beyond the scope and capacity of the academic coach, including referrals related to individual counselling, group therapy, welfare, paralegal assistance and employment access.
2. Teaching
UpLearn has developed an interactive skills-focused teaching methodology used in the design of full day workshops that teach the content and core skills of the full Associate and Bachelor degrees. This curriculum is delivered through a monthly teaching cycle that aligns with individualised student targets. Further learning opportunities are offered through one-on-one tutoring during lab sessions, a weekly English Club, where students can practice the basics of academic writing, and monthly Enrichment workshops and activities. These fun activities range from expert seminars, to yoga classes, to art therapy workshops, to CV building and professional training opportunities, to film screenings and Q&As. They take place once a month and seek to inspire, motivate and energise as well as to contextualise learnings from the degree within the African context.
3. Professional Development & Digital Literacy
UpLearn offers an eleven-week professional development course that culminates in an assessment that all enrolled students will have to take. The course is designed to keep the student up to date with current professional trends and assist with developing new skills for the purpose of employment advancement. Professional development helps build and maintain acceptable workplace morale to ensure quality performance. These skills will assist the student with meeting employment requirements and expectations for longevity and growth within employed positions post-qualification. Enrolled students must also take a ten-week digital literacy course. The course covers touch typing, Google suite, online professional communications, online research, and advanced Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Through facilitated interactive demonstration and task-based lab sessions the course teaches the digital literacy skills UpLearn and SNHU consider to be essential to almost all forms of employment.
4. Internships
All students must complete a 120-hour internship that has been sourced or verified by UpLearn. An UpLearn-approved internship will meet certain criteria for level of responsibility and educational potential. The internships must bestow high-level responsibilities and offer an opportunity for students to directly work with and learn from a supervisor/mentor. UpLearn values exposure to new environments and methods of working in the interest of CV building. As part of the internship on-boarding process, students are required to work with the internship coordinator to discuss career aspirations and develop potential career pathways. The student is then given homework to independently search for potential internships/organisations they’re interested in. Additionally, the internship coordinator approaches various NGOs/NPOs/businesses, advocating for potential internship placements. In order to provide students with more learning opportunities outside of the classroom, UpLearn also launched an internal, project management-based internship in 2019. Lasting 6-months, this internship allows teams of students to practice a variety of skills that mirror those necessary for an external internship or entry-level position. The internship focused on efforts around health promotion using the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) body mapping curriculum.

Volunteer For UpLearn

Our volunteers come from all over the world and bring a diverse set of experiences, knowledge and abilities. They support every aspect of Scalabrini’s programmes, from English lessons and administrative support, to outreach and advocacy work.

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