The Role of Distance Learning in South African Higher Education Institutions During COVID-19 Period: Challenges and Perspectives

Sbonelo Gift Ndlovu, Nduduzo C. Ndebele, Victor H. Mlambo


The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced higher education institutions to adapt to the sudden shift to distance and digital forms of teaching and learning. Through a review of literature, this paper aims to examine the role of distance learning in South Africa's higher education institutions during the COVID-19 period, how Universities coped with the sudden change from face-to-face classes to online classes, to examine if academics were supported in this transition and what impact did this transition have on teaching and learning and students at large. Findings revealed that the lack of internet connection in many parts of South Africa, procurement and logistics issues, scarcity of state resources and lack of training for academic staff were amongst some of the challenges confronting institutions of higher learning during the era of COVID-19. The paper concluded that academics have somehow been overburdened and neglected in responses to COVID-19 by higher education institutions and government because government responses to the pandemic have largely focused on students, thus alienating. The paper, therefore, recommends rigorous training and support for academics by their institutions to ensure effective teaching and learning in the online space.


Higher Education, Distance Learning and Covid-19 Pandemic.

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