Ensuring Employability and Widening Access: The Case of The University Of Eswatini

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

The University of Eswatini (formerly known as the University of Swaziland) has an Institute of Distance Education since the mid nineteen nineties. The introduction of blended learning in 2017/2018 throughout the University means some of the mandates of the Institute have now been overtaken. Changing mandates, changing policy environment (an IDE Policy document is circulating as we speak, with possible adoption before the end of this year), changing world, changing Swazi society.// In my contribution I aim to show how the Institute of Distance Education could transform and reposition itself in order to assist the nation with satisfying its educational and professional development needs, in particular when it comes to entrepreneurship, languages and related study areas. Enhanced stakeholder involvement is, in my view, one of the ways in which IDE can ensure that it responds to societal needs.// One of the major developments is that through blended learning 'traditional' faculties may now be able to attract a higher number of students than in the past (when this was not possible, mainly due to infrastructural limitations). This constitutes a major 'threat' to the Institute. One way of counteracting this threat is to introduce training courses (short and long) that can be delivered online or in a blended manner (with limited face-to-face offerings in the students' workstations, if they are employed). Intensified stakeholder involvement is able to construct strategic partnerships with both internal and external stakeholders. It is necessary to research this new direction as it might change the face (and content) of what occurs in the Institute of Distance Education in the Kingdom of Eswatini.// Paper ID 253

Distance Education,Employable Skills