Awards and recognition

International Corporate Livewire Prestige Award 2020/21

Category: Virtual School of the Year 2020/21

Think Digital Academy won the international Corporate Livewire Prestige Award, run out of the UK, in the category of Virtual School of the Year 2020/21.

The Corporate Livewire Prestige Awards recognise small and medium-sized businesses “that have proven to be the best in their market” over the past 12 months.

Think Digital Academy CEO Janessa Leita has been at the forefront in SA and global societies calling for quality distance learning amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In different interviews with local and international media, Leita has emphasised that e-learning provides the much-needed safe and alternative channel for children, while saving the 2020 academic year.

“This award is special because it comes at a critical epoch not only in education, but our whole lives in totality. Think Digital Academy is providing a state-of-the-art learning environment where learners, from wherever they are geographically, are taught via online lessons by our highly qualified educators. We provide the CAPS and British international curricula from grade R to 12 or the advanced level in the British International curriculum, in an integrated, engaging and effective way to our rising number of learners,” says Leita.

“Our aim is to produce young adults who are innovative, creative and independent in their thinking, who have courage, perseverance and resilience and who believe in themselves and their potential. Our name is derived from our strong belief that thinking is one of the most important skills a child can be taught. We have so much information at our fingertips, but we need to learn how to think creatively to use this information to plan, design, and innovate — for anything new.”

TDA’s learning platform offers three channels of support to students:

  • access to a tutor chat where a panel of teachers are available to assist with all content-related queries from the learners;
  • a chat room where all learners can communicate with their virtual classmates/friends on the system; and
  • a weekly activity report outlining a learner’s work completed as well as all their marked results.

TDA is registered with SA Comprehensive Assessment Institute and offers both the national senior certificate and the British International curriculum.

Companies and entities shortlisted for the Corporate Livewire SA Prestige Awards are asked to support their nomination for the award with evidence of their work; positive feedback from their clients; the highlights of the most outstanding parts of their businesses; and information on previous accreditations and recognition.

The judges base their decisions on areas such as service excellence, quality of the product and service provided, innovative practices, value, ethical or sustainable methods of working, as well as consistency in performance. The winners selected are those who can best show their strengths in these areas.

From a maternal instinct to SA’s first virtual school

Leita has always had a burning passion and a drive for education. In 1999, she founded Siyanqoba Seminars, a private FET College in Pretoria, which developed strategies to make South Africans more employable by offering job-orientated and occupationally directed training. After 18 years of training and accrediting more than 40,000 delegates with nationally registered credits and full qualifications, Leita sold Siyanqoba Seminars to a listed company as she shifted her focus to the critical primary and secondary education.

In 2012, she was awarded the Institute for People Management’s Excellence Award for her contribution towards education in SA.

Founded from the need to provide her son Alessandro, who was severely bullied at school, with alternative schooling opportunities, Leita established Think Digital Academy, SA’s first fully digital school, in 2016. Analysts and mainstream media have described the academy as a “game-changer” in the education sector amid the Covid-19 huge disruption.

Think Digital Academy provides a virtual school environment which features engaging, interactive content adapted to a learner’s individual needs. Leita’s mission is to produce learners who are creative thinkers, problem-solvers, and innovators who thrive as they learn.