Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Distance Learning South Africa

Education is very important to the South African people and the research performed here can only be defined as cutting edge. As this system continues to grow, and as more and more people are gaining access to educational opportunities, the country seems poised to make even greater educational strides in the coming years. One major growth area in recent years has been the implementation of online distance learning in South Africa. Distance learning opportunities, through online schools in South Africa, is providing access to higher education for people who were formerly excluded due to distance, disability or time, and is reshaping the educational landscape of what was once a very limited and elitist system.

South Africa is home to twenty-one public universities and several private institutions of higher learning. Together these schools provide a wide array of study and research options, and are designed to offer both local and international students a well-rounded, comprehensive and globally-significant educational experience. Recently, the education system in South Africa was restructured and revamped, finally freed from racist programs and policies of the old Apartheid-based system. This restructuring has led to the development of several comprehensive universities, including the introduction of “Distance Learning South Africa”—a program that through several online schools in South Africa provides a wide range of degrees, diplomas and certificates and broadens educational access at the tertiary level.

While distance education in South Africa had been in existence since the mid 1990s, it wasn’t until January of 2004 that these programs became a widely popular alternative to the traditional university setting. It was in that year that the University of South Africa and Technikon South Africa merged, and incorporated the Vista University Distance Education campus. The new entity formed by this groundbreaking merger, a merger which created several online schools in South Africa, became known as “Unisa.”

According to university records, Unisa is the leading distance learning institution in all of Africa, with internationally accredited qualifications, top-tier instructors and world-class resources. In each of its online schools in South Africa, students, who, for a number of reasons, were precluded from attending traditional universities, can now gain the education and skills they need to excel in their future career choice; the knowledge to help them identify and present solutions to some of southern Africa’s most pressing developmental problems.

While distance education in South Africa is partially funded and supported by the state, educational policy, curriculum and all personnel matters are the responsibility of each institution’s council—a council that is led by the University Chancellor and made up of prominent South Africans employed in a wide range of important positions within the community.

Distance learning in South Africa, and the opportunities it presents, is helping to ensure that EVERY individual in South Africa who desires a higher education is able to pursue that goal, regardless of whom they are or where they live. Ultimately, this creates not only a more well-educated populace, but equates to a brighter future and a better tomorrow for everyone living in this rapidly emerging country.


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Jeanete Dowling said...
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Jeanete Dowling said...
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