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Overview of Distance Education in South Africa

Updated September 2010
South African Institute for Distance Education

Introduction

The advent of South Africa s first democratic government in 1994 signaled the beginning of significant policy changes in education, including a notable emphasis on distance education. Distance Education was identified as a key mechanism for facilitating access, participation and redress, especially in higher education.

Distance education plays a significant role in South Africa, particularly in teacher and higher education. It affords access to a large and diverse student population, of both mature students and increasingly also school leavers unable to access face-to-face universities, whose education needs might otherwise go unmet.