Online Education in South Africa: Alleviating High Levels of ‘Unplaced Children’ in Schools


South Africa’s population was estimated at 60.14 million as of mid-2021, indicating that despite death rates from the pandemic, our population continues to skyrocket. Education is essential to stimulate our economy and fight inequalities, but we do not have the capacity to adequately accommodate all students. The emotional toll this has on families is evident every year as parents close schools and take to social media in protest.

The biggest problem contributing to the large number of children not placed at the start of each school year is simply infrastructure. Most parents are location-determined and enroll their children in a nearby school, but gentrification has changed that.

“If we look at Gauteng, for example, developments continue to accelerate. On a property that five years ago housed a family with two children, there are now five families with 10 children – but few, if any, new public schools are being built, ”says Shaw. He argues that these families are often pushed into a scenario where they must weigh between having their child in a classroom full of 40 children or having to transport their child 40 km. New schools under construction are often carried out by the private sector, and many are further away than someone’s local school and therefore not entirely feasible for some.

Fighting for a place in “nurturing” schools

As South Africa ramps up its efforts to tackle inequality, it must be considered how difficult it can be to fit children into public schools that can only accommodate a limited number of students. “The question then becomes: how do they choose who is accepted, and that is a controversial question,” says Shaw.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) says different provinces have different policies that ensure learners are based in schools. It’s still legal for schools to add food zones as admission criteria, and cities like Cape Town are known to prioritize those in immediate areas which often lie in wealthier areas. like the ‘Golden Mile’ of Rondebosch where the starting price for a small house is around R4m.

“In this conundrum lies the opportunity. Live online schools that are engaging and structured much like a brick and mortar school – with great subject choices, a variety of extramural activities, and social opportunities – are a great one. option for parents and students, because there are so many. much more to them than it looks, ”says Shaw.

The solution: focus on the new paradigm

The world is no longer behaving like it was before the start of the pandemic. There has been a paradigm shift where people are now looking for the optimal way to do things.

“You no longer have to go to the stores when the items can be delivered or go to the office when you can work from anywhere – and the same goes for education,” says Shaw, citing the huge increase in inquiries Teneo Online School continues to receive despite the pandemic receding.

“With all that involves change, there will always be those who adapt quickly and those who need a little more time to adjust – but now that children and parents see the opportunities of the higher education online, they realize that the opportunities of online school are endless, ”says Shaw, adding that many of SA’s top teachers are embracing this change as well.

Teneo is famous for its offering of various programs including the South African National Curriculum (CAPS), Independent Examining Board (IEB) and UK International Curriculum, recognized both locally and internationally, making it easier for students to transition. to an international online university.

If those who have the interest and the ability to attend an online school do so, it will reduce some of the capacity problems of public schools, but it will only be a long-term solution if people see the benefits of online schooling. line for their future.

“Ultimately, parents send their children to school with one goal in mind: to prepare them for future success. There are countless students who thrive in the online education environment who walk away with their accredited Matric certificate like everyone else, but who are actually better prepared for the future of work in the mid-21st century than their less digital-savvy peers. It’s about finding what works best for your child and what will work best for their future, ”Shaw concludes.

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