Distance learning has grown exponentially since the start of Covid-19, and many people have discovered the benefits of learning through correspondence. With so much growth in this area, it is important to know which distance learning colleges are reputable and accredited. 

Distance Learning and Classroom Learning

Where Can I Study Through Distance Learning?

Some reputable distance learning colleges are: 

  • Bellview Institute of Distance Learning
  • Matric College
  • Skills Academy
  • Ember Academy
  • Learning Group

Each of these colleges offers a variety of courses, all through distance learning. These colleges each offer different courses, including: 

  • Matric programmes
  • NATED courses
  • ICB courses
  • CIMA courses
  • Short courses

Matric Programmes

There are three Matric programmes, which are all designed to help students get their Matric. Whether they wrote their Matric and failed, passed but were unsatisfied with their results, or did not get to write their Matric, there is a Matric programme to help. 

The three programmes are: 

  • Matric Rewrite 
  • Matric Upgrade
  • Adult Matric

Matric Rewrite

You can do a Matric Rewrite if you are under the age of 21. You may rewrite a maximum of four subjects, and you cannot change these subjects. You must rewrite subjects you wrote for your Matric final exams. There is no limit to the number of times you can rewrite your Matric, as long as you are still under the age of 21. 

Matric Upgrade

You can do a Matric Upgrade if you are over the age of 21. You may upgrade a maximum of four subjects. However, you can choose to change any of these four subjects. There is no limit to the number of times you can upgrade your Matric. 

Adult Matric

You can do an Adult Matric if you are over the age of 21 and did not get to complete your high school education and write your Matric. Once you have successfully completed your Adult Matric, you will receive your Senior Certificate (Amended). 

Your Senior Certificate (Amended) will then function exactly the same way as a National Senior Certificate, or school Matric. You can use it to apply to jobs or to further your studies. 

NATED Courses

National Accredited Technical Education Diploma (NATED) courses are designed by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and accredited by QCTO (the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations). 

This means that they are recognised as formal qualifications by educational institutions and potential employers. 

There are seven NATED streams of study: 

  • Business Management
  • Educare
  • Financial Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Legal Secretary
  • Management Assistant
  • Marketing Management

All NATED courses now require you to have Matric to be able to apply. In the past, most NATED courses accepted a Matric Equivalent to apply, but this is no longer the case. To apply for any NATED course, you must have your Matric. 

Luckily, you can apply with any Matric Pass Level, which means that you can apply with any of the following Matric Pass Levels:

  • Bachelor’s Degree Pass
  • Diploma Pass
  • Higher Certificate Pass
  • National Senior Certificate Pass

Even if you have failed a subject in Matric but passed Matric, you can still apply for any of our NATED Courses.

ICB Courses

ICB courses are accredited by ICB (the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) and QCTO. These are also recognised as formal qualifications. ICB qualifications are also recognised worldwide, and highly regarded in South Africa because they teach scarce skills. 

There are three ICB streams of study: 

  • Business Management
  • Financial Accounting
  • Office Administration

These ICB courses do not require Matric to be able to apply. Business Management requires Grade 11 to apply. Financial Accounting requires Grade 10 to apply. Office Administration requires Matric or a Matric Equivalent to be able to apply. 

The ICB Business Management and Financial Accounting programmes both have a Matric Equivalent level. This means you could study either of these, and then use it to apply to study the ICB Office Administration programme. 

CIMA Courses

CIMA courses are designed by the Chartered Institute for Management Accountants. These courses are accredited by QCTO and are also recognised worldwide. There are four levels to CIMA accounting courses: 

  • Business Accounting: CIMA Certificate Level
  • Business Accounting: CIMA Operational Level
  • Business Accounting: CIMA Managerial Level
  • Business Accounting: CIMA Strategic Level

CIMA courses also do not require you to have Matric to be able to apply. To apply for the CIMA Certificate Level course, you must be over the age of 16, and you must be able to understand, read and write in English. 

It is not compulsory, but it is recommended that you are able to do Maths and Accounting at Matric level. 

Short Courses

Short courses are designed to equip you with the basic skills you will need to begin your career. The courses offered at these colleges are open access, which means there are only two requirements you need to meet to be able to apply. 

These two requirements are that you are over the age of 16, and that you can understand, read and write in English. 

Each of the colleges that offer short courses offers a different range of courses, some of them include: 

  • Beauty Therapy
  • Child Care
  • Digital Photography
  • Interior Decorating and Design
  • Management Courses
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Tourism Management
  • Wedding and Events Planning

What Is The Difference Between Online And Distance Learning?

Often, online learning and distance learning are used as interchangeable terms. This is because they are both used as terms to describe correspondence-based learning, or e-learning. These are all the same form of learning, which have no face-to-face classes.  

Is A Distance Education Degree Valid?

Yes, as long as the college and course you are studying are accredited, your distance learning qualification will be recognised as a formal qualification, the same way a face-to-face qualification would be. 

Do TVET Colleges Offer Distance Learning?

Yes, some TVET colleges do offer courses through distance learning. However, not all courses will be offered through distance learning. Check with the TVET college you are applying to about which courses are offered through distance learning. 

Does NSFAS Fund Distance Learning?

Yes, NSFAS does fund distance learning studies. However, NSFAS will only fund distance learning studies done through a TVET college or South African public university. NSFAS does not fund studies done at any private institutions. 

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Distance Learning?

There are many advantages and disadvantages to distance learning. 

The main advantage of distance learning is that study times are flexible, and they are up to you. This means you can work full time to earn an income while you further your education. You can also study from the comfort and safety of your own home. 

The main difficulty of distance learning is that you must have the self-discipline to keep your studies on track. It can be difficult with many distractions at home, or you may be tired after a long day of work. It is important to keep yourself motivated so that you do not fall behind in your studies. 

What Have We Learned?

  • There are many reputable colleges that offer courses through distance learning
  • There are many types of courses you can study through distance learning
  • Online learning and distance learning are different names for the same thing
  • Distance education is valid as long as the college and course you study are accredited
  • Many TVET colleges offer some of their courses through distance learning
  • NSFAS does fund distance learning courses as long as they are through a TVET college or South African public university

Author: Chloe Bydawell
Editor: Razeen Dollie
Date: July 13, 2022