Wallahu'alam bissawab - and Allah knows the right.
I really hope you actually read the contract and you are telling us what it actually says as opposed to what you think or heard it said but I'm only here to lay out the facts so the whole world can judge:
First of all, Andela is not and cannot claim to be a savior of anything. We are here to help Nigerian technical talent be globally successful. Andela fellows will be successful but what we do at Andela is make it possible + make it happen faster. In any case, I'm not here to debate that point. I just want to lay out the facts of the new contract.
Why is Andela a four year program? I have talked about this before on Digital Drift.
Accelerating high potential talent especially in a country like Nigeria means you have to teach them new habits and learning new habits takes time. There is a reason why your average talented Nigerian developer cannot keep clientele and manage projects on deadline. There are many non-technical skills that go into being a well rounded software developer and Andela could teach these skills but it will take time for these skills to become habits.
During the program, you will be paid competitively to turn these skills into habits by working on internal projects, and with Andela's partners like IBM, Microsoft and Udacity. Working with these established global technology companies enables Andela work closely with you to support you to turn your skills into habits.
What is the real deal with IP? Now because we work with global technology companies, one big risk is that a fellow could take their IP and go make it work for a competitor. Many companies who would have helped push our fellows working experience in interesting directions find it difficult to do because the IP risk worried them. So to eliminate that risk you have to agree that the work you are doing belongs to Andela and the client. This is a standard expectation even in startups. But what the contract also says if if you are working on a side project all you need to do is write it down and Andela verifies it is actually your IP (not the clients) and that you own it. This helps us prevent situations where people are taking IP from clients and using it to develop their own. I think it's a fair thing to ask otherwise even you as a founder will find it difficult to work with Andela otherwise your innovative e-commerce idea could end up in Jumia's hands tmr.
Commitment: The beauty of Andela's model is that we invest in you via training and then you start creating value for partners and getting paid for it and then part of that value you have created goes to train another batch. If current fellows weren't able to work with partners who then contribute to educating a new class of fellows, the system won't work. We won't be able to build this as a sustainable way to educate lots of people.
Now sometimes in our culture people can get selfish. We noticed a few people were taking the skills and training and leaving before they can contribute to funding the training of the next of fellows. So we had to step in and create a situation where the commitment was explicit. You cannot deny others opportunities that have been given to you.
Now it takes about 2 years to pay back the cost of training ($15,000). What the contract does is deduct the balance of what would have gone to train someone else if you leave before the 2 year are up. If you leave after 24 months you don't owe anything. And if you leave after 18 months you only owe 1/4th of the amount. I think this is fair. We could start charging for Andela's training because it's valuable but we don't want this to be an opportunity only for elitist kids. That's why we put a figure to it and said you can leave whenever you want but you still have to fund the cost of training future fellows.
Keep in mind we do this while paying the fellows top of the market. Within 18 months of being at Andela you earn about 225k per month. And folks who spend over 30 months here will earn over 300k+/ month. I think is good compensation for the local market.
We are building something special at Andela and so there will be plenty of pressure for people to discredit us or make us seem disingenuous but as I have matured I have learned to stop listening to them. What is important are the facts of what we are doing
Allah knows best and HE also knows what is right.
I am doing what is right. I don't know about those who use Allah name to spread rumors and cause disaffection.