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DBE Plans To Open Online Schools

Due to the second wave of the pandemic, the DBE has decided to plan for the opening of online schools to reduce the pressure on school admissions. 

In 2020, most of the school year was done online and it gained lots of popularity. The Department of Basic Education decided to plan for the opening of online schools to reduce the pressure on school admissions. 

In past years, many learners were left without a school at the beginning of the school year due to the lack of schools, particularly in Gauteng.

Mathanzima Mweli, Director-General, announced that the DBE is working with provinces and private education providers to present regulations and policies which they could follow to open online public schools.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, private education providers have started opening online schools such as Curro Online which was established by Curro Holdings.

Curro Online is an online school which offers classes to learners in Grade 4 to Grade 10 and within two years, they hope to offer Grade 12 classes as well. Its fees range from R3 680 to R4 200 per month.

Jay Paul, Curro Online Business Manager, said that they have received positive responses from parents and guardians since the school opened.

“As COVID-19 continued to impact the country, we identified a need with parents that were struggling, especially those that were working from home to juggle their career and kids’ education and they were looking for an online program that would offer access to full-day class time with online teachers and because many parents were concerned about sending children during the pandemic,” said Paul.

Curro Online offers live classroom sessions which cover the duration of the school day. Learners are allowed to self-study using the recorded lessons and online materials.

The DBE is hoping to open online schools in the public sector as well.

“There’s a team lead by Mr Tlhabane the Chief Director of ICT working with a branch that is responsible for schools and they are working with provinces to finalise policies and guidelines so that we promote online schools to run, yes we are also going to have them but at the moment they are private.  This is the future and it’s something we are working towards as well,” said Mweli.

Last year many people were thinking about homeschooling their children, however, according to Mweli, many parents have "abandoned" that idea due to all the challenges they had to face.

Some of those challenges included parents feeling anxious about teaching their children themselves and others experienced difficulties while trying to register with provincial education departments.

However, homeschooling organisations announced that "many more parents are homeschooling than the education department is aware of." These parents have received the curriculum from the organisations they have enrolled with.

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