South Africa: Universities Must Adapt or Wither Away - Online Learning Is Here to Stay

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opinion

Without Covid-19, it is likely that the majority of South African universities would not have engaged with the importance of developing robust e-learning offerings. The pandemic has forced universities in the country to re-evaluate their entire models of education.

It was encouraging to read Prof Wim de Villiers' article on the future of universities post Covid-19. Universities in South Africa are a critical component of the country's growth in developing students to integrate into the economy. With the impact of Covid-19, South African universities were forced to quickly take the vast majority of their courses online to ensure that they could save the academic year. They have all also adopted phased approaches to reopen to ensure that students are not put at risk.

De Villiers acknowledges that there has been immense disruption in the sector that goes back before Covid-19 with the rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs). However, he suggests that these courses "have not quite delivered on their hyped promise". In this, I believe he is incorrect and has severely underestimated the impact that MOOCs are going to have on the sector.

Google, for example, has recently announced a new programme titled the "Google Career Certificates". The...

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