Policy provides guidelines for action and, in the case of distance education, must take cognisance of the systems nature of distance education planning and provision. A distance education policy framework therefore needs to answer questions like the following: Why do we want to use distance education? Who are our target audience? What kind of distance education system do we need? What technology mix will be appropriate? How will we manage planning and costing – given the necessity of upfront investment in programme and materials development? What kind of staff do we need and where do we need them to ensure appropriate decentralised learner support? How will we assure the quality of programmes, materials and assessment? Whom should we be working with? This links primarily to Nadeosa Quality Criterion 1: Policy and planning but informs all other criteria.
Examples of Saide's contribution in the policy arena are:
- 1994 - ANC Policy Framework for Education and Training
- 1995 - White Paper on Education and Training
- 1996 - National COmmission on Higher Education Report: A Framework for Transformation
- 1997 - White Paper 3: Programme for the Transformation of Higher Education
- 1998 - Norms and Standards for Educators
- 2000 - Norms and Standards for Educators
- 2002 - Enhancing the Contribution of Distance Higher Education in South Africa. Report of an investigation led by the South African Institute for Distance Education was released by the CHE together with an accompanying policy advice report in 2004
- 2004 - CHE Criteria for Programme Accreditation
- 2011 - Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development in South Africa
- 2011 - Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (Foundation Phase: Life Skills)
- 2012 - Draft Policy on Distance Education for Universities
- 2013 - Report of the Ministerial Committee for the Review of the Funding of Universities
- 2013 - Ministerial Task Team Report on Community Education and Training Centres
- 2013 - Ministerial Task Team Report on the Establishment on the South African Institute for Vocational and Continuing Education and Training (SAIVCET)
- 2014 - White Paper on Post-School Education and Training
- 2014 - Policy for the Provision of Distance Education in South African Universities in the Context of an Integrated Post-School System
- 2014 - Distance Higher Education Programmes in a Digital Era: Good Practice Guide.
Over the years Saide's Director, Jennifer Glennie has been very active on the Council on Higher Education and was instrumental in the formation of the first Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC). In 2013 Jenny was appointed by the Minister of Higher Education and Training as the Interim Chair of the new Sol Plaatjes University in Kimberley.