Even prior to the pandemic, online schools had their fair share of critics among South Africans, but this perception drastically changed due to the lockdowns and increased isolation. So, was this purely a short-term solution for parents during the pandemic?
An analysis of the enrolment data from Teneo Online School, one of Africa’s leading online schools, says otherwise: these learners have switched for the long-term and most plan to finish their school experience online.
According to Teneo, it has seen huge growth, surging by 10,488% in over five years, from 85 learners when it was founded in 2018 to 9000 learners today and counting since enrolments are always open.
“The data clearly indicates that both parents and learners who initially were not convinced merely needed to see it to believe it. Now that they have seen how convenient, yet brilliant quality online school is, they are more open to considering it,” says John Shaw, CEO of Teneo Online School.
Teneo Online School recently conducted a survey to determine the perceptions of online schooling in South Africa, and the insights are interesting.
Here are 5 Insights from the Survey that Are Worth Noting:
- 94% of the sample indicated that online school is better value for money
This is in comparison with traditional, brick-and-mortar schools. For example, those who wish to do an international curriculum, such as Independent Examinations Board (IEB), often need to fork out more money for a private school.
There is also no need to spend money on school uniforms or transport costs – if you have access to a digital device and high-speed internet, you are good to go.
- 95% of the sample agreed that they would consider an online school if their children agreed to it
95% of respondents said that they would consider enrolling their children in online schools if their children agreed to trying it.
- 97% of the sample agreed that online schools encourage autonomy in children
Since structure and routine are important for learners, Teneo operates on a mostly synchronous (live) basis where learners are expected to be live in class in accordance with their timetables (just as they would at a physical school).
However, there are students who benefit greatly from using the asynchronous (recorded) model where they learn using pre-recorded lessons and at their own pace – an option for those pursuing other interests in the daytime, such as aspiring professional sportspeople.
- 80% of the sample would consider their children swapping from the South African curriculum to an international one
Such as Pearson Edexcel British International or IEB. 20% believe the National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) alone will suffice.
- Only 7% of the sample believe that all online schools are the same, the remaining 93% believe that selecting the right online school for your child is important
Parents should consider the type of school suitable for their child, the amount of live interaction the child will receive (ratio of live versus recorded), look at the learner management system and how it operates and confirm that the school in question uses quality, SACE-registered teachers.
Shaw founded the school long before the pandemic because he saw how efficient online schools were internationally and making this mainstream in South Africa would address many educational challenges, like removing area codes as a criterion for schools.
Teneo says it is the only live, timetabled, fully online school in South Africa, from Grade R to post-matric.
It is also the only online school to offer a choice of their CAPS, IEB and British curricula from Grade R-12, Cloudpack CAPS from grade 4-12 and Adult Matric.