Since its first democratic elections in 1994, South Africa has been a hive of activity in the development of educational policies of various kinds. In the short span of eight years, almost every aspect of the country s education system has come up for intensive research and review, as part of a process of trying to restore equity and build quality of delivery of education to all of the country's people. In mid-1999, this process turned its attention to the issue of open schooling.
South Africa has a long history of distance education delivery in public education, although this history is predominantly located in the country s higher education systems. The University of South Africa, for example, launched distance education programmes in 1946, awarded 180, 578 degrees between 1967 and 1999, enrolled 115, 856 students in qualifications in 2000, and is regarded as one of 11 'mega' distance education universities in the world. Distance education delivery has grown throughout the public higher education system, through two other dedicated providers-Technikon Southern Africa and Vista University's Distance