Amid continuing uncertainty about children returning to school in South Africa, there are plenty of options for parents considering online-only schooling options.
Here are some of your options for online schools in South Africa:
Curro Online is SA’s latest online school. While more details will be released next week, SA’s biggest private school group stressed that this is not a home-schooling model, where parents need to take on the responsibility of teaching and continuous supervision. Instead, teachers will be present online during each lesson, and parents will only have to check homework.
Virtual Schools offers Grade 1 to Grade 12 by using a “blended” schooling method. Learners access tutors and lessons online and use textbooks and study guides. The lessons are set out according to a timeline and there is no need for parental assistance because learners can call a tutor when needed, says Alby Masters, registrar of Virtual schools. They also offer group and recorded lessons. “The aim is to encourage independent learners,” says Masters. He says Virtual Schools’ programme is such that learners can start at any time and finish when they are ready. It is easy to complete one year’s curriculum online in six to nine months because there are no distractions, says Masters. Fees start at R3,500 per year for Grade R and reach R27,530 per year for Grade 12.
Brainline has been offering distance learning for more than 30 years, and became a fully online virtual school three years ago. Coleen Cronjé, CEO of Brainline, says the school offers Grade R to 12 to a couple of thousand learners all over the world. They follow the CAPS curriculum. Brainline makes use of live classes, webinars and recorded lessons. In addition, parents can buy textbooks, because physical books are often more comfortable for children to use for long periods of time, says Cronjé. Each lesson is loaded on to the learner’s profile. Parents receive reports after every assessment period. Brainline’s examinations are assessed by the IEB. Their fees range from R3,800 per year to R28,000 per year for matric. Cronjé says the school supports independent learning, but also encourages parents to be involved with their children’s education to improve learning outcomes.
Clonard Education has been offering homeschooling assistance since 1996. Heather Tyrrell, director of Clonard, says they provide about 1,000 learners with the CAPS curriculum via online lessons and hardcopy textbooks. Clonard is Sacai registered and is managed by qualified South African teachers and assessors. The fees start at R3,500 per year and go up to R22,000 per year for Grade 12.
Impaq offers online education to over 18,000 students and has been operating since 2002. It also follows the CAPS curriculum and lessons are offered using webinars and textbooks. Learners are supported by over 1,200 experienced and qualified tutors. Impaq is registered with Sacai and learners do the national senior certificate exam. Grade R to 12 learners are accommodated, and Impaq says learners can easily integrate back into the traditional schooling system. Fees range from R3,552 for Grade R to R24,000 for Grade 12.
Think Digital College has been operating since 2016, and CEO Janessa Laita says it aims to replicate the schooling environment online by using recorded lessons and offering learners access to a tutor portal. The school sends parents a weekly report of their children’s website activity, tests and assessments. They make use of private tutors, so that it is easier for parents, says Laita. They currently have almost 5,000 students. The school offers the CAPS curriculum for Grade R to 12 learners, as well as the R to A levels of the British schooling system supported by the Cambridge curriculum. Fees range from R3,750 to R14,000 per year.
Mytopdog offers online learning assistance to learners through its Vodacom e-school which is free to learners from Grade R to 12 with no data costs. Video lessons can be used by learners at their own pace.
Cambrilearn offers the British curriculum online to learners in SA. Fees start at R10,000 a year, and can go up to R60,000. Online teachers, daily interactive lessons, private lessons, and on-demand chat facility are offered. It covers from pre-primary to A-levels.
Afrikaans-speaking learners can currently access the Die Wolkskool for free. The school is part of trade union Solidariteit’s school-support centre and offers Grade 1 to 12 online. The website was originally started as an online tool to assist learners and teachers, but is now a fully functioning online school. They teach all primary school subjects and 12 high school subjects by using video lessons on demand. The school is currently assisting 7,000 matric pupils to finish Grade 12. But note: Die Wolkskool is not accredited with Sacai.
If your child is in matric or has just completed matric and does not know what to do, why not have them take a gap year and join the School of Entrepreneurship? The programme is open to all ages and even pre-matric budding entrepreneurs.
The course costs R19 900 and is delivered by real entrepreneurs, offering business training and coaching online over 8 months including help on how to open your own business.
Classes start on 1 March – 29 October 2021 and are both live streamed and recorded to watch 24/7.
The disappearing workspace trick
Done studying? Fold the wall mounted desk against the wall when not in use to make a mirror. Not only will you be able to check your appearance before you leave but you will have plenty of room for your phone, car keys, flowers, etc.
Compact Studying to the fullest
If you prefer brightly lit rooms for studying, place your study area next to a window so you can take advantage of as much natural light as possible. Another great option would be a portable USB light.