Unisa is well known for its distance and online learning courses, but it is by no means the only institution that offers flexible study options in South Africa.
The University of South Africa ( UNISA) is one of the biggest correspondence universities in the world and the largest university in South Africa, boasting over 310 000 students.
The student body is comprised of both African learners and international students that stream in from over 137 countries around the world.
While Unisa is the only distance learning university, it is not the only institution that offers alternative study programmes in South Africa.
There are a number of colleges and private institutions that offer flexible study options to those who are not able to enrol in traditional establishments. However it is important to note that only Unisa offers university level 'classes' and qualifications.
Unisa was established in 1946 and has been expanding its reach and delivery ever since. They offer certificates, diplomas and degrees from undergraduate to doctorate level.
Unisa's distance learning system has helped many people further their education through convenient and flexible courses.
Similarly there are private and public colleges that have joined the effort to make higher education accessible to everyone by offering accredited short courses and online programmes.
As a whole the education sector is in the process of redefining its methods of delivery in order to meet the needs of a varied and growing student population.
For example, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has become a major buzzword in education circles as more institutions look to incorporate Moocs as part of their service offering. Moocs refers to unlimited public participation and open access to educational material and lecturer support via the internet.
With so many options available to prospective students, where and how you study will depend largely on what you plan to do with your qualification. For those who are already qualified and seek to further their knowledge on a certain topic, a short course at a private college could be ideal.
For others who are embarking on an academic career a university degree might be more appropriate.
Here are a few questions to ask before you select a training provider or distance learning course. Do they have the accreditation that you need? Are they internationally recognised? What level of qualification do they provide? Do they have a reputable name that employers will value?
Look for institutions that have effective support structures in place that can help you along your journey and ensure that you succeed. Government and industry leaders are working together to make education accessible and available to everyone but what you do with these opportunities is up to you.
To find out more about online or distance courses visit:
UNISA or search for online courses on the Skills Portal