Extending Inclusive Access and Exclusive Provision in Distance Higher Education

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF2 // The vision for the 21st century South African higher education system as presented by Kader Asmal (1999) has crystallised into two priorities for the state: // (a) Priority 7: we must create a vibrant further education and training system to equip youth and adults to meet the social and economic needs of the 21st century. // (b) Priority 8: we must implement a rational seamless higher education system that grasps the intellectual and professional challenges facing South Africans in the 21st century. // The institutionalisation of this vision in higher education has led to (1) the reconfiguration of management structures and learning programme; (2) setting up of alternative means of enabling access into higher education; (3) and in retrospect imposed new challenges in strategies and methodologies of providing higher education that respond to all forms of diversity that the extension of Access invites into teaching and learning. This paper is based on a case study depicting an analytic audit of Technikon Southern Africa of intervention programmes that seek to extend students' academic access (access from outside) to the provision learning programmes and learner support (access and success from within). These 'access from outside' equity programmes are used to benchmark the vision of the seamless higher education that grasps the intellectual and professional challenges facing South Africans in the 21st century. The latter refer to the 'access from within' development programme which are benchmarked against diversity quality assurance, and diversity in expanding exclusive provision as prescribed by the act of extending inclusive access. The study employs an action research model that presents a vision to balance equity and development. It analyses the context of teaching and learning in distance higher education and rigorously reflects on practice of the work in progress at Technikon SA based on diversifying and extending inclusive access as well as expanding exclusive provision and learner support in distance higher education in Southern Africa. This paper also advance the argument for the putting in place academic planning guidelines for staff development programmes to design and provide new programmes and modules and for the improvement of the existing ones as necessary movement to understand and implement the changing higher education legislative context. //

South Africa