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The #FeesMustFall protests have cost South African universities over R1 billion, disrupted learning for hard-working students, and destroyed valuable property like libraries and art.

While these protesters celebrate their destruction as progress to make education more affordable, many other (and smarter) students have been making the most of free online education.

Many of the world’s top universities, including Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, are offering people around the globe free, high-quality education.

This month, Oxford started offering its first economics course – From Poverty to Prosperity: Understanding Economic Development – via the edX platform.

edX is an online learning platform founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which offers “quality education for everyone, everywhere” for free.

Oxford was ranked as the best university in the world in the 2016-17 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which speaks to the quality of edX courses.

Over 10 million students are already benefitting from the edX massive open online course (Mooc) platform, which is growing fast.

Courses available via edX cover most fields, including computer science, architecture, engineering, science, and mathematics.

For those looking for local academic programmes, Wits university has developed a suite of online courses which will be made available over the next three years.

These include Moocs on the edX platform, short online courses, and entirely-online degree programmes.

Moocs offered by Wits are free, with a certificate of completion available for $49.

Now read: Wits launches free online courses

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Study for free at Oxford or Harvard