UNISA or University of Zululand

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Michael, Mar 27, 2001.

  1. Michael

    Michael Member

    To all who have responded to me before, and anyone else:

    I have also been in touch with Professor Arthur Song of the University of Zululand; he is the dean of the faculty of theology. He spoke very favorably of my being admitted to the MTh degree. It seems that their fees are even considerably lower than UNISA's.

    My question: If you had to choose between the two, which do you think you'd choose, and why?

    I would greatly appreciate any input; this is a very important decision for me.

  2. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    This is based purely on perception, but I would choose UNISA. I think it has better name recognition, and doesn't sound as strange to the US ear as "Zululand".

    If you're interested in a Th.M., have you considered Potchefstroom? At least one board member is in a degree program there, and seems very satisfied.

  3. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    UNISA's, largely because:

    1. There are a wider array of available specializations.

    2. Desmond Tutu is a graduate, which can be leveraged to one's favor.

    3. It's an older school.

    4. The faculty is larger.

    5. UNISA has been doing the distance learning thing for a lot longer than Zululand.

    Good luck!


    Tom Head
  4. Michael

    Michael Member


    Yes, I've considered Potch, but they require Greek and/or Hebrew for the MTh, as I recall from their website, and I've only had one year of Latin; so, I gues I'd have to go for their MA. I prefer, however, a MTh.

    Bruce and Tom,

    Thanks very much for your reply and suggestions!
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest


    Between the two I would have to choose UNISA, since it does have broader name recognition and a much longer track record in offering DL programs. However, there are also other options.

    Potchefstroom University www.puk.ac.za offers equivalent programs as UNISA for about the same cost. Both PU and UNISA are about 130 years old, well established residential universities, both meet GAAP criteria and have very credible theology faculties. PU offers both the Th.D. and Ph.D., as well as the M.Th. and MA.

  6. Michael

    Michael Member


    One of the main reasons I was considering Zululand was because they charge by the degree program rather than per year--that is, they have a set fee for the MTh whether it's completed in one year or two, and they have an installment payment plan. UNISA charges per year, so if you take longer than a year to complete the degree, you have to pay another year's fee. If one could complete the UNISA degree in one year, it would cost about the same as Zululand's; if not, it would cost twice as much--or three times as much if you took three years to complete it. This has to be a major consideration for me, but their are other important factors, as well--as you all have pointed out.

    I still haven't heard from Potch--don't know why. But I'm not leaning that way, anyhow, because of the foreign lamguage qualification I mentioned. I won't rule then out, however.

    Thanks for the response, opinion, and suggestion!
  7. Michael

    Michael Member

    Oops! That should have been "language", not "lamguage", and "them", not "then". Or maybe I meant "luggage". [​IMG] Anyway, I taught school all day, and it's late.
  8. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I'd choose UNISA.

    If you study with UNISA, you study with UNISA. This University of Zululand program is actually taught by a little known affiliated seminary that is "validated" or something by the U of Z, right?

    The UNISA theology and religion departments are large, well known and credible. They operate several research institutes that apparently welcome participation by DL graduate students and are positioned to take advantage of cognate departments in Biblical languages etc. At least one of the South African theological journals comes out of UNISA.

    The University of Zululand started out as a "Bantu" university set up under apartheid to serve a black ethnic Zulu student body in their rural Zululand "homeland". It might not be fair or even entirely correct, but there may be a lingering perception that it isn't quite up to the standard of some of the other SA universities.

    I could see a real advantage to studying at Zululand if one were studying African traditional religion or some of the black Christian (or quasi-Christian prophetic) churches that have arisen in Africa. But it didn't look to me like this program touches any of that interesting stuff. It's just a rather typical theologically conservative approach that doesn't seem to try to take any advantage of its unique affiliation.

    If your area of interest is in the currently trendy areas of political theology and social justice, it may look good to have a degree from a historically black South African university. It would lend you credibility. But I don't think this program exploits that possibility either.
  9. bing

    bing New Member

    I found this article on the web regarding Zululand. Some allegations surrounding degree selling have been made(http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/pr/1996/pr0804.html+university+of+zululand&hl=en)

    The ongoing impasse at the University of Zululand on whether to have an internal or external inquiry into allegations around the sale of degrees can only serve to drag the name of the university further into the mud and lead to more tension and conflict.

    The unfolding events at that institution clearly show that significant stakeholders - including students, some members of staff and convocation - are opposed to an internal inquiry. There is therefore a very serious danger that whatever the outcome of internal investigations might be, they might not have credibility among all stakeholders.

    It is therefore clear that only an independent inquiry instituted by government can satisfactorily deal with the matter. Further differences as to how far back the scam goes makes this matter an issue of public importance, such that an internal investigation is not a suitable vehicle. One Sunday newspaper reports that a university employee alleged to be involved in this scam alleges this goes back to 1974, while we were made to understand by the university management that this only goes back to 1993.

    This alone deepens the seriousness of the matter, thereby necessitating a full independent inquiry through a body ideally appointed by the national minister of education. The necessity for such an inquiry is further underlined by the fact that significant sections of staff say that they don't feel safe to give evidence, as they fear victimisation.

    It must also be clearly stated that the reluctance to accede to an independent inquiry might give the impression that the university has something to hide. To allay such fears, therefore, I will be approaching the national minister of education to consider the institution of an independent body to fully investigate the matter.

    It is in the interest of the University of Zululand and South African higer education as a whole that all stakeholders should acceded to the setting up of an independent inquiry to settle the matter as speedily as possible.

    While the swiftness with which the university management moved to set up an internal inquiry is fully appreciated, it is now necessary that all the information collected through the internal process must be handed over to an independent body.

    Furthermore, the call for an independent inquiry should by no means be construed as a vote of no-confidence in the university management. Rather it is incumbent on everybody, particularly the management, to ensure the general public is reassured of the validity of qualifications issued by the university, and to protect employers from engaging the services of fake graduates.

    It is also for the sake of past and present students and members of staff that the independent inquiry be urgently instituted so their own integrity and dignity is protected. In light of development, I will also raise the matter with the portfolio committee on education as soon as possible.

    Issued by: Blade Nzimande
    Chairperson: Education Parliamentary Portfolio Committee
    c/o ANC Dept of Information and Publicity
    PO Box 61884
    Marshalltown 2107

    4 August 1996

    For more information:
    Blade Nzimande 082 5555 085 "
  10. Michael

    Michael Member


    Actually, Zululand offers its own theology degrees apart from the South African Theological Seminary, and they are less expensive than SATS.

    Thanks for your reply.


    Thank you very much for posting this.
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Likewise, if one studies with Potchefstroom, it is PU faculty who are involved in the process. The degrees offered in conjunction with GST are completed via promoters from both institutions. Actually, several of the GST faculty also serve on faculty at PU.

    All course work is completed via collaboration between one's GST promoter and PU promoter. At every step in the process PU is integrally involved in one's academic progress.


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