Following the decolonisation and the disintegration of apartheid in the African continent, the new African leadership looked upon higher education as a panacea for socioeconomic development of the continent. This called for the African leadership to transform higher education from an “elite” to “mass” education. The new realities of independence in the SADC region necessitated the need to widen access and equity in higher education. This need led to the launching and signing of SADC Protocol on Education and Training in 1997 by the Heads of States. The Protocol recognises ODL as a vehicle for expanding access and equity in higher education for non-conventional learners and trainees. This paper examines the role and the influence the SADC Centre of Specialisation in ODL plays in enhancing and buttressing the achievement of the spirit and the aspirations of the SADC Protocol on Education and Training. Key word s: Open and distance learning, SADC, Centre of Specialisation in Open andDistance Learning.

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