Considering the promise of open, distance and e-learning – ODeL – we need to take cognisance of the high expectations that post-secondary school education will solve many current societal crises, such as unemployment and gross inequalities. Realising the potential of ODeL is, however, intimately connected to trends in the international higher education landscape and the causal power of social, political, economic, technological, environmental as well as policy (legal) structures. There is also an increasing realisation that post-secondary education cannot, on its own, solve unemployment and other societal ills, without consideration of the structural limitations of economic policies, political and societal stability, technological infrastructure, environmental concerns and national policy and legal frameworks. There is no doubt that ODeL has huge potential to contribute to economic growth, erase inter-generational poverty and address societal injustices and inequalities. Realising its potential however depends on a sober assessment of ODeL as one variable among many interdependent and often mutually constitutive factors in local and international post-secondary school contexts.
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