Easy access to distance learning in the North
By Albin Jacobs
MD of Southern Business School of Namibia
Higher education has evolved over the last few years. Fortunately, the sector has evolved to a point where access to higher education can be provided through a variety of modes.
From distance education, to e-learning, to full time or part times modes, there is literary a mode for everyone. Unfortunately, many Namibians still only look at full time or part time options. The reality is that distance education and e-learning has broadened access to higher education and it has developed into the new frontiers for higher education.
This is especially true for working professionals, or for those that for some reason did not have the opportunity, money or time to study straight out of high school. Many Namibians will never have the opportunity to be full time students, or have a scholarship to fund their studies, creating their own opportunity to improve themselves.
With Namibia being such a large and sparsely populated country, access to tertiary education remains a challenge, this is one of the reasons that most higher education institutions have developed regional campuses. It allows people there to access tertiary education as well. Despite these regional campuses, access to tertiary education remains a challenge for many. Distance learning is becoming a viable option for many Namibians, especially when people know the certificates, diplomas and degrees are NQA-recognised, as Southern Business School Namibia’s courses are.
Higher Education institutions like SBS Namibia play an important role in educating Namibia. Distance learning and e-learning have become an integral and vital part of the education landscape. This is the reason that apart from SBS Namibia’s head office in Windhoek and its bi-annual registration roadshow, it has now opened an office in Ongwediva in the Oshana region. On the 28th of May 2018, this Centre will start to enrol students for the first time.
Professionals and students alike aspire to climb the corporate ladder, the surest way of doing this is through educational self-development. With the opening of an office in Ongwediva, it will be easier for people in the northern regions to register, seek out information and just talk to someone about the possibilities of distance learning. With towns like Oshakati, Outapi, Eenhana and Oshikango not too far away and Ongwediva truly being a hub for Northern Namibia, it is the perfect place to cater to students.
Distance learning is a form of learning that allows you to develop and invest in yourself, your career and intellect. Even if you are in full time employment. Which means you won’t see a drop in salary whilst pursuing an education, potential loss of salary is often a reason for not pursuing further education.
Distance learning is often stimulated by employers and even paid for, as they don’t lose an employee they have invested time and money in. They also realise they are going to get a better prepared, educated and developed employee in return.
With distance learning, there’s no commuting to classes, so there’s no transportation costs, or babysitting and work issues. You can study from the comfort of your own home, even in your pyjamas, if you want. It is also a very affordable choice. There are no expensive campuses to maintain and almost everything is done digitally, this allows for significant savings that can and are passed on to the students. All you need is access to a good internet connection.
Internet, e-mail, chat-groups like WhatsApp and other forms of technology allow for a wealth of up-to-date information to be available to distance students. Whereas, outdated textbooks and syllabi are often still the norm in traditional tertiary institutes. Distance learning is truly interactive and the support network through the chat-apps adds an extra dimension for the students.
Distance learning is not learning in isolation or a vacuum, there’s a network with other students, lecturers and tutors are all online. Students still work together, have sounding boards and people to learn from. This is very much a part of the education process in distance learning. There are even dedicated forums and chatrooms online for the students to interact and share ideas. Giving you the tools you need to succeed in earning your next certificate or degree.
You learn in your own time at your own pace. The accreditation of the degrees, certificates is essential for a successful distance learning experience. Too many colleges offer worthless degrees or certificates. Academic Institutes like Southern Business School of Namibia are accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority and recognised by the Namibian Qualifications Authority. This is vital if the degree or certificate is to help in furthering your professional or academic career.
Distance learning is an effective and successful way to continue your education while working from the comfort of your own home. With the opening of a Northern Office in Ongwediva, the choice to pursue an education has never been easier. The pace and schedule of learning are entirely in your hands.