An ongoing Open University project is focusing on determining equitable access to, and improving the quality of, international distance education in South Africa.
The University of South Africa (UNISA) is the primary provider of mass distance education for international students in Africa, with much of its student body made up of migrant students. However, it is not fully known what drivers are influencing international distance education’s (IDE) supply and demand in Africa and how far IDE can meet the Sustainable Development Goals aims of equitable access to education.
IDE can provide a vehicle for achieving sustainable development, particularly equitable access to quality education for all that addresses the skills requirements of the labour market. It aims to understand the factors affecting IDE in South Africa (SA), a major regional provider of IDE in Africa, and to explore demand side factors in Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Nigeria – three major users of SA’s IDE.
The IDEAS project argues that international higher education, properly devised, can become a route for development in countries of the global South - focusing on two areas vital to the future success of IDE in Africa: equality of access to education, and the quality of that education. The research is investigating questions that include: