Here Are The Universities Offering Free Online Courses


Tertiary education comes at a high cost for many young South Africans. However, the Higher Education Department claims to already put measures in place to make higher education more through free online course programs from some of the country's top-ranking higher learning institutions. 



In a country where the economy is growing at a slower pace than its skilled labour force, having a Higher Education qualification has become a crucial step towards progressive social mobility in South Africa.

However, affordability seems to be a common barrier to entry for most young South Africans who struggle to raise funds for their tertiary studies.

Enabling open access to online short courses through partnerships with Higher Education institutions is one of the solutions that has been brought forward by officials keen on knowing the department’s plans to make higher education more accessible to those who are unable to afford it.

According to Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, short course quality management guidelines are available from the Council on Higher Education (CHE). And short courses that, have been deemed appropriate, and could result in degrees or part qualifications are currently offered by universities and private higher education institutions.

He goes on to say that this is done to give institutions the ability to meet the rising demand for educating the public at all ages and providing them with the necessary skills and knowledge.

The University of Cape (UCT) is considered a leading example, as they offer a suite of free online short courses that are hosted in partnership with Futurelearn, Getsmarter, and Coursera 

There are no requirements for the online courses, and participants have the option to pay for certificates after completing them. The online courses are the result of a collaborative partnership between the above-mentioned entities and the Ministry of Communication and Digital Technologies.

The University of Johannesburg and the University of the Witwatersrand also offer free fully online courses to members of the public. However, Wits University’s online courses are offered through the edX platform.  

The Higher Education Department has also adopted Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) or offering free online courses to increase access as per the Higher Education Act.

Suggested Article:

Online education has become a big part of the new normal during the Covid-19 pandemic. This approach to learning has long been a part of curriculum at various universities in South Africa.




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