The advent of South Africa’s first democratic government in 1994 signaled the beginning of significant policy changes in education including a notable emphasis on distance education in which University of South Africa is one of the key player. Distance education plays a significant role in South Africa, particularly in teacher and higher education. It affords access to a large and diverse students population especially the majority of the black disadvantages of the past obnoxious apartheid regime.
As a result of the incorporation over several years of the various dedicated distance teacher education institutions and the merger in 2004 with Technikon Southern Africa, Unisa is now the only dedicated distance education public provider in higher education. Unisa has thus become a comprehensive higher education institution offering diplomas and full range of degrees across general, vocational and professional fields.
Judging from this amalgamation of various institution and the higher expectation of service delivery from both the internal and external Unisa stakeholders, a lot of pressure has thus been put on Unisa to improve on the quality of service interms of delivery period of study materials, quality of study contents, quality improvement from the support services, quality of the teachers and teaching methods.
In order to discuss the various barriers towards improvement on the aforementioned area of quality improvement, it is imperative to highlight what really constitute quality at Unisa.
The higher education quality committee (HQEC), a permanent committee of the council on higher education (CHE) understands quality as fitness for purpose, value for money and individual and social transformation with an umbrella fitness-of-purpose framework. Within the ambit of the HQEC’s definition of quality, Unisa commitment to quality as expressed in the 2015