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South Africa

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South Africa is located in the southernmost tip of Africa and has a population of almost 60 million (World Bank, 2022). As a major donor, South Africa holds a seat on COL’s Board of Governors.

COL’s work in South Africa is in the areas of higher education, teacher education, and technology-enabled learning (TEL) and benefits from programmes offered by the Southern African Development Community Centre for Distance Education (SADC-CDE), COL’s regional centre. Learners from South Africa are also participating in COL’s free, open online courses and accessing other available resources.


  • The Honourable Kgwaridi Buti Manamela, Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, gave the keynote address on inclusivity at PCF10.
  • Professor Geesje van den Berg, University of South Africa, appointed COL Chair for the period 2023 to 2026.


Partnerships are fundamental to COL’s work. Strategic partnerships allow COL to broaden its reach and engage at global, regional and national levels, while implementation partners support COL’s work in communities and institutions across Commonwealth Member States. Partners include multilateral organisations, regional bodies, national governments, government agencies, foundations, civil society organisations, public and private (not-for-profit) institutions and the private sector. COL partnerships assist in improving and extending teaching and learning services to people in the developing Commonwealth.

COL’s partners in South Africa include:

  • Department of Higher Education and Training
  • SchoolNet South Africa
  • Siyafunda Community Technology Centre
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Fort Hare
  • University of Pretoria
  • University of South Africa

Key Contacts

Focal Point

Ms Trudi van Wyk
Chief Director: Social Inclusion, Equity, Access and Quality
Department of Higher Education and Training

Notable Mention

The late Professor Narend Baijnath, former Chair, COL Board of Governors

Ms Jenny Glennie, COL Honorary Fellow and former member of COL Board of Governors

The late Professor Daniel Kgwadi, former member of COL Board of Governors

Professor Mandla Makhanya, COL Honorary Fellow

Professor Mpine Makoe, COL Chair (Institute for Open and Distance Learning, University of South Africa)

Professor Veronica McKay, former Honorary COL Adviser

The Honourable Naledi Pandor, COL Honorary Fellow

Professor N. Barney Pityana, COL Honorary Fellow

Dr Ihron L. Rensburg, former member of COL Board of Governors

Mr John Samuel, former member of COL Board of Governors

Professor Vincent Tenebe, former COL Chair

More Information