Affordable online schooling is the solution to the crisis in South Africa’s basic education sector.
This is according to Janessa Leita, founder of Think Digital Academy, South Africa’s virtual school of the year, who says the backlog due to learning time lost during the COVID-19 pandemic can be addressed.
Leita responded to recent comments by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga when she provided an update on the department’s efforts to stabilise the education sector.
Motshekga said the pandemic had resulted in dire setbacks that will likely require several years to correct and that it was vital that government “introduce measures to catch up on time as well as the teaching and learning that was lost through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
She described the situation as a “generational catastrophe.”
Leita says the education system in South Africa has been characterised by stark inequalities. “Unfortunately the pandemic has exacerbated the problem, with the poor being the hardest hit. Those who do not have access to online resources at school have lost up to 70 percent of schooling since the start of the pandemic.
“However, I believe the pandemic should be viewed as an opportunity to focus on innovative education. We must secure the opportunity for all South African children to learn in a safe educational environment. The future of our children cannot suffer because their parents cannot afford to equip them with the necessary resources for online schooling, or to send them to schools that are well-equipped.”
For public and private entities who believe that all children deserve quality education, Think Digital Academy is seeking your support with this mission. “We have a state-of-the-art online learning platform, but we need partnerships to facilitate access in the form of devices and internet connectivity. With additional support, we can equip no-fee-driven schools with our award-winning online educational content,” says Leita.
Think Digital Academy has won the Corporate LiveWire Best Online School of the Year award for the last two years. It is the first online school that provides the South African Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), the United States General Education Development (GED) and the British International school curricula. It currently has approximately 7 500 enrolled learners.
Short learning courses are also offered for learners seeking knowledge in coding and robotics and mind power for kids and teens, which educates children on strategies to manage their thoughts and emotions.
It offers pre-recorded lessons, printable study notes, memos, assessments and feedback, weekly and quarterly e-mailed reports, online tutors and student success coaches, student forums and expert-led live tutorials as well as a free 14-day trial for anyone to explore the online school environment.
“South Africans must never divert from supporting the reality that our children are the future and each child deserves the same opportunity for quality learning. This should not be dependent on the colour of their skin nor on their financial means,” says Leita.
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