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IJIET 2021 Vol.11(11): 553-560 ISSN: 2010-3689
doi: 10.18178/ijiet.2021.11.11.1564

Digitalization and Decolonizing Education: A Qualitative Study of University of South Africa (UNISA) Leadership

Vuyisile Msila

Abstract—The COVID-19 pandemic that shook the world in 2020 forced all educational institutions to search for new ways of teaching and learning. Furthermore, education institutions such as the University of South Africa (UNISA), like all other universities, found themselves with a huge task of promoting digitalization. As a traditional distance education institution, UNISA had to refine digitalization in a time of decolonization in the Global South. This case study examined the role of educational managers in sustaining effective digitalization. Eight UNISA managers were selected and interviewed to understand how they perceived the role of digital leaders. Furthermore, the study sought to understand why it is critical that managers should be in the forefront of digitalization. The study found that at present in Africa it is critical for digitalization to be combined with decolonization. Additionally, when digitalization and decolonization are implemented simultaneously, they become vehicles for social justice and democracy. This then means that education can be a tool for liberation and achievement where the digital divide is minimized. When implemented well, education institutions become institutions with access for success. The conclusions show that a set strategy based on a new vision for a university will harness digital leadership. The participants also mentioned strategic documents at the university; on the one hand are the Five Pillars of Change whilst on the other are the Eight Dimensions of Transformation. Furthermore, the participants claimed that their institution was on the road to success whilst building UNISA as an institution “Towards the African University that builds futures.”

Index Terms—Decolonization, digitalization, digital leadership, institutional culture, open universit.

The author is with Thabo Mbeki African School for Public and International Affairs, University of South Africa, South Africa (e-mail: msivuy@gmail.com).


Cite: Vuyisile Msila, "Digitalization and Decolonizing Education: A Qualitative Study of University of South Africa (UNISA) Leadership," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 11, no. 11, pp. 553-560, 2021.

Copyright © 2021 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

General Information

  • ISSN: 2010-3689 (Online)
  • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Inf. Educ. Technol.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • DOI: 10.18178/IJIET
  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Dr. Steve Thatcher
  • Executive Editor: Ms. Nancy Y. Liu
  • Abstracting/ Indexing: Scopus (CiteScore 2022: 2.0), INSPEC (IET), UGC-CARE List (India), CNKI, EBSCO, Google Scholar
  • E-mail: ijiet@ejournal.net


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