Perspectives on Distance Education & e-Learning in the South African Military

Research Paper Title

Distance Education and e-Learning in the South African Military.


When writing about contemporary South African military issues, scholars face some difficulty.

Firstly, very little, if any, scholarly research emanating from within the military is being published in South Africa or elsewhere at present. On the surface it appears as if the military in general do not engage the community at large on a more intellectual level. What is more, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), like the broader public sector in South Africa, seems to have gone into a mode of self-protection. Very much like the pre-1994 South African military, the self-protection of the SANDF manifests itself, it seems, in an overemphasis of or fixation with military security.

Secondly, media coverage of the military in South Africa is mostly of a sensational nature. Stated differently, there is not much in-depth media interest in and investigative reporting on things military in South Africa. The South African military in general has a difficult relationship with the media to the extent that the SANDF displays a type of lager mentality when interacting with the media. Certain sections of the military, the Navy in particular, seem to have a more proactive approach in dealing with the media. This is the exception, though, rather than the rule.

Lastly, since 1994, scholarly interest in the South African military has also faded with the shift in societal interest away from military security-related issues. As a result, substantiating many of the observations pertaining to contemporary South African military issues is a real problem.

The observations about the SANDF in this paper should therefore be seen as tentative and exploratory in nature.

The purpose of this paper is to provide some higher order perspective with regards to distance education (DE) and e-Learning against the general background of Education, Training and Development in the SANDF. The history of education in South Africa in general and in the military is complex.

Like militaries the world over, the South African military is dependent on the general educational system in South Africa to provide it with quality products. And, like most other societal matters, education and its influence on the South African military has a long history.


Distance Education & e-Learning in the South African Military (Esterhuyse, 2009)


Esterhuyse, A.J. (2009) Distance Education and e-Learning in the South African Military. Defence Academies and Colleges International Conference. Network Centric Learning: Towards Authentic ePractices. Proceedings. Stellenbosch University, 25th 27th March 2009, pp.39-45.


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