In their bid to advocate for a quality assurance collaboration programme, the Botswana Open University (BOU) and the University of South Africa (UNISA) on their first day of the three-day event hyped up distance learning.
During the day one discussion at the event held at Cresta Lodge in Gaborone, the two universities identified distance learning as one of the pioneers that can help accelerate the quality assurance collaboration programme between the two institutions.
The acting vice-chancellor, Professor Kgomotso Moahi stated that distance learning is something that is affordable and holds great power. “Distance learning is the future and because of technology one can get access to education from anywhere because of the technology that is being used and this is something that holds enormous power,” she said.
Subsequently, Moahi added that though COVID-19 was a great impediment to BOU and UNISA’s relations, she acknowledged that COVID-19 did greater good for distance learning. “COVID-19 brought up how important and critical distance education is as more institutions moved from sit-in classes to virtual classes which are also distance learning, thanks to COVID-19,” she added.
As Moahi was adamant to show how distance learning is imperative for the two universities, she went on to give a great example of people who benefited from distance learning. “There are perceptions that distance learning does not bear any fruit but the great father of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, when he was in prison for a very long time studied through distance education and turned out to be a great leader and great man,” she revealed.
Meanwhile, Professor Luvuyo Lalendle, the executive director, Quality Assurance Enhancement at UNISA, shared the same sentiments as Moahi. “It is very key for the two universities to foster quality assurance in higher education and distance learning is one key aspect that can be used to foster quality assurance,” he said.
In addition, Lalendle elucidated that this movement will make it easier for the cross-border delivery of education. “Distance learning is no different from a student who does full-time learning. They all learn the same concept and the one doing distance learning is the one that does learn the most as they take it upon themselves to learn more. And this will make it easy to cross the border,” he added.
The three-day event is expected to continue today (Tuesday) where speakers will be expected to deliberate on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that expired in 2017. The two universities will be deliberating on how to structure the new MOU, which they intend to sign soon. On Wednesday, BOU and UNISA will be wrapping up their discussions on the quality assurance collaboration programme.