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International Relations and Partnerships Directorate

About the directorate

The role of the International Relations and Partnerships Directorate (IRPD) is to strategically position UNISA internationally as a leading open and distance learning institution through mutually-beneficial partnerships and collaborative initiatives.

The Directorate seeks to encourage greater international interaction between Unisa and other public institutions of higher learning, governments, national, regional, international organisations, etc…

The Directorate’s major priority areas are geographically split as follows:

  • The African continent
  • International (America, Asia, Europe, Oceania).

The Directorate currently administers and manages over 115 collaboration agreements in 36 dcountries around the world.  Out of 52 703 international students registered in South African Universities in 2005 academic year, 16 600 of them (31,4%) were Unisa students.  The vast majority of them come from the African continent.  South Africa is currently ranked the 5th destination of international students world-wide and the 1st on the African continent.

The agreements entail the following types of partnerships:

  • Academic cooperation
  • Capacity building for open distance learning
  • Specially-designed projects (capacity builing programmes for government services and teachers)
  • International Fellowships (academic and administrative staff exchange programmes) 
  • Collaborative research
  • Joint publications
  • Student recruitment, tuition and counselling
  • Knowledge transfer, etc..