University of South Africa

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(for UniSA see University of South Australia)

The University of South Africa (UNISA) is a distance learning university, with headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa. With approximately 200,000 students enrolled, it qualifies as one of the world's mega-universities.

Founded in 1873 as the University of the Cape of Good Hope, UNISA was once primarily an examining agency for Oxford and Cambridge universities, UK. In 1946 it was given a new role as a distance education university and today it offers certificate, diploma and degree courses up to doctoral level.

Its motto is Pro Gentibus Sapientia which means Learning in Service to Humanity.

In January 2004 UNISA merged with Technikon SA and incorporated the distance education component of Vista University (VUDEC).

The UNISA web site is at

There is also an informative wikepedia entry at

Distance learning

Today, UNISA calls itself Africa’s leading Open Distance Learning institution with more than 223,000 students in 2006 and approximately 6,900 different courses. Under the web page for its vision you can read "Towards the African university in the service of humanity":

"Our vision is to become Africa’s premier distance education provider, serving every country on the continent and transcending language and cultural barriers. In other words, we are a University committed to making a difference in the communities we serve."

As it states on the web page “Spanning the age spectrum”, UNISA focuses on adults as lifelong learning, but 285 of total registrations in the 2005 academic year were students aged 24 or younger.


MyUNISA is the portal for student services, and Sakai is its learning management system. In MyUNISA learners can access "administrative information such as biographical details, academic and assignment records, examination results and dates, and financial records. Academic information comprises courseware, subject-related academic guidance, discussion groups, recommended books and more".

Visit the site for more information about MyUNISA.

UNISA Online Campus is a now-defunct colloquial term for UNISA's online student services and learning module.

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