While online schooling temporarily popularised in South Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was expected to lose momentum once the country achieved herd immunity. Presently, the risk of the pandemic has significantly decreased across South Africa. However, it’s interesting to note that online schooling is still widely popular across the nation.
While some parents are sending their children to conventional (in-person) school again, others are continuing with online schooling. Why? In this blog, we’ll offer a closer look at the unique interest in online schooling post-pandemic. We’ll also highlight some features of one of the leading online schools in South Africa, Cambridge Home School.
1. Ample Flexibility
Compared to conventional (in-person) schooling, the online schooling model stands out for offering significantly more flexibility to both students and parents. Students are taught in small groups by experienced, qualified, and trained teachers.
As one of the most esteemed online schools in South Africa, Cambridge Home School has intentionally kept the classroom size as small as possible (8 to 10 students per group). This makes for more focused learning.
Since each classroom comprises a handful of students, the teachers are able to provide individualised attention to each of them. There’s little to no risk of students zoning out, getting distracted, or losing the gist of the argument. If, however, one of these situations were to occur, the teachers are attentive and present enough to empathetically reel distracted students back in.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in most conventional schools. As noted by many parents, the conventional schooling system has a high student-teacher ratio. As 20+ students are taught by one teacher, they struggle to pay attention. If a student were to get distracted, the teachers have too much on their plate to pick up on their lack of focus. As a result, distracted students remain distracted, which affects their knowledge absorption and retention capabilities.
Let’s circle back to flexibility. Since online schooling is more focused, the classes have a smaller duration. A lot of additional time is saved as commuting hours are cut down. Collectively, students end up getting a lot of extra time following their classes.
This plays a big role in improving their school-life balance. Students aren’t overworked like they would be in conventional schools. Instead, they retain their energy and utilise the extra time for their hobbies, interests, excursions, explorations, family trips, and the like.
This flexibility allows children to become well-rounded students who excel in different aspects of their life: academics, sports, art, music, photography, tech, volunteering, traveling, reading, etc. They develop a wide range of soft and hard skills. Consequently, they develop both personally and socially.
While many parents have been switching to online learning to help their children reap the benefits of greater flexibility, there’s another reason that has been compelling them to proceed with this transition. Online schooling is extremely safe. Students can receive a quality education from the safety and comfort of their home. Owing to the risk of violence, bullying, and harassment in conventional schools, many parents are switching to online schooling to offer greater protection to their children.
We recommend speaking with your child and candidly asking them about their experience with conventional schooling. Touch upon whether they feel uneasy, pressured, or belittled at school. For younger children, you can use a roundabout way to determine whether they feel uncomfortable at school.
As your children address their concerns or hint towards their discomfiture, take the right measures accordingly. You can speak with their teachers or request help from a professional. Choosing the right institution that prioritises your children’s physical safety and emotional well-being is imperative. Online schooling offers this benefit so long as you choose the right institution.
3. Academic Improvement
South Africa has a razor-sharp focus on academic growth. Students are encouraged to secure top grades and enter some of the most prestigious universities across the globe. If you live in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Gqeberha, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Soweto, East London, or Tembisa, you may have heard that online schooling improves children’s academic performance. This is because the virtual learning system has quickly popularised in these cities. Parents have become familiar with the academic benefits of online schooling.
Trusted by thousands of parents in South Africa, Cambridge Home School has a team of MA/PhD qualified subject specialist teachers on board. They have also developed a well-rounded, interdisciplinary, and independent curriculum to help students progress exceptionally well in school, secure top grades, and become well-rounded learners. To help students stay on track, the institution also provides one-on-one success coaching and pastoral support.
Additionally, Cambridge Home School leverages cutting-edge digital learning technology and provides a vast online library of educational resources. By utilising the individualised teaching approach, their teachers provide one-on-one attention to each student. Their learning habits, weaknesses, and strengths are carefully noted. Based on these insights, the teaching strategy is tweaked accordingly to ensure improvements in grades and long-term academic performance.
This is one of the topmost reasons why many parents have been preferring online schooling, specifically Cambridge Home School, over conventional schools in South Africa. As the transition popularises across the nation, hybrid learning is also being introduced across the board. Some students prefer attending both online and in-person classes. The hybrid learning model combines both approaches.
Most students study from home for 3–4 days of the week and attend physical school for the remaining 1–2 days. Students and parents can collectively decide which model is more suitable. If they choose hybrid schooling, they can also select the ratio of online to in-person schooling.
Owing to its flexibility, safety, and focus on academic enrichment, online learning has already become entrenched in several cities of South Africa. In the coming years, its popularity and reach are further expected to increase.
About the Author
The author is an education specialist at Cambridge Home School, one of the leading online schools in the UK, Europe (including Western Russia), Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. They update the institution’s curricula, provide assistance and guidance to parents, and frequently contribute to their blog.
Parents can choose from Cambridge Home School’s four best homeschooling programs: Primary Prep/Key Stage 2 (ages 8 to 10), Lower School/Key Stage 3 (ages 11 to 13), Upper School/IGCSEs (ages 14 to 16), and Sixth Form/AS & A-Levels (ages 17 to 19).
Also see avple for more interesting articles.