Making the invisible, visible: disability in South African distance education

Paul Prinsloo, Chinaza Uleanya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Distance education celebrates its humanitarian mission of providing opportunities for disadvantaged and marginalized individuals who do not have access to traditional campus-based higher education. Large enrolments of students necessitate an industrialized approach in planning, design, and delivery informed by a normative assumption of ableism. In the context of post-apartheid South Africa, distance education fulfills a particular important role in ensuring access to education for all. This scoping review addressed two questions: “What is currently known, in the context of distance education in South Africa, about the educational experiences of SWDs?” and “How should we understand and respond to these experiences?” The scoping study shows, inter alia, that while there is an institutional commitment to providing equitable learning experiences, the lived experiences of students with disabilities provide evidence of their invisibility in the design, planning, and delivery of learning. The study concludes with some recommendations and provocations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-507
Number of pages19
JournalDistance Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • South Africa
  • access
  • distance education
  • students with disabilities (SWDs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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