Vol. 38 No. 2 (2023)
Research Articles

Tomorrow Never Comes, But It [Education] Gives You Hope: Narratives of South African Women Completing Tertiary Education Online While Incarcerated

Bianca Rochelle Parry
University of Pretoria

Published 2024-02-01

How to Cite

Parry, B. R. (2024). Tomorrow Never Comes, But It [Education] Gives You Hope: Narratives of South African Women Completing Tertiary Education Online While Incarcerated . International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education Revue Internationale Du E-Learning Et La Formation à Distance, 38(2). https://doi.org/10.55667/10.55667/ijede.2023.v38.i2.1309


Higher education in the correctional environment is endorsed globally as the most effective tool for rehabilitation. Studies from the Global North have researched correctional education and its accessibility, but few of those have focused specifically on incarcerated women’s access to tertiary education online. Even fewer consider this topic within the context of the Global South. This study aimed to address that gap by providing a holistic perspective of South African women’s experiences of e-learning and distance higher education while incarcerated. As a qualitative research study utilising feminist narrative inquiry, the lived experiences of seven women incarcerated in the largest correctional facility in South Africa are uncovered through narrative analysis. The findings describe women’s pathways towards obtaining an education online, the challenges they encountered, and the role support played in their completing a tertiary degree through distance education. Ultimately, the findings reveal that online higher education moves beyond student rehabilitation, to enhance the overall well-being of these students and enable them to cultivate empathic relationships with their peers, which in turn fosters further education opportunities for incarcerated women in South Africa.


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