Curro Online, the new offering from private school group Curro, will go live in mid-June with applications open to all from Monday (25 May).
The online initiative comes at a time where many parents have been forced to homeschool their children, and while the government has decided to reopen schools from 1 June, many parents believe that sending their children back to school is too risky.
“As Covid-19 continues to impact our country, we also identified a need among parents who are struggling to juggle homeschooling with their own work or are looking for an online programme that will still give their children access to class-time with qualified teachers.
“Many parents are also concerned about sending their children back to school once schools reopen, especially those with immune-compromised family members living in the same household. Curro Online is a response to all these pressing needs,” said Curro online business manager Jay Paul.
Paul stressed that Curro Online is not a homeschooling model, where parents need to take on the responsibility of teaching and continuous supervision.
Curro Online’s curriculum is focused on maths, science, coding and robotics, with classes taught by current Curro teachers.
“We’ve been developing our digital education offering for some time now, which is evident with our recently launched DigiEd model,” said Paul.
It’s a learn-from-home online model that is aligned with Curro’s enhanced CAPS curriculum, he said.
The model’s online material is created and taught by Curro teachers. There is a structured timetable in place for the learner that needs structure, as well as the option to be flexible for those that work well at their own pace.
The timetable includes teachers initiating each class and guiding learners through pre-set material on the online platform.
“The teaching model combines flexible learning through pre-set learning material on our learning platform, with live interaction whereby learners can ask teachers for help and also receive detailed feedback on their progress,” Paul said.
He said that the Curro Online platform has an easy-to-follow curriculum with a variety of video material, recorded live lessons and other learning material.
“Each learner can choose which material best suits their learning preference, and then complete a variety of assignments and assessments for us to test their understanding,” Paul said.
Curro Online will be taught by a dedicated Curro teacher per subject, per grade, for the whole year.
Curro said that applications will open on Monday, 25 May 2020, while the school will open on Wednesday, 17 June 2020.
The school will be English-medium and initially offer grades 4 to 9, with new grades being phased in every year. Learners in matric will write the IEB examinations.
The school fees are R3,500 per month for grades 4-6; and R4,000 per month for grade 7 and higher. “Curro Online is open to everyone,” said Paul.
Learners will not study in isolation, but rather in small classes. They will also have group projects assigned to them, where projects will be done in small groups of four, said Paul.
Extra-curricular activities will be available at existing Curro campuses, and Curro Online learners will also have access to an educational psychologist for virtual consultations if needed.
Reopening of schools
President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday evening (24 May), that the alert level for the whole country will be lowered to level 3 with effect from 1 June 2020.
The president said that one of the challenges confronted by the government was around the reopening of schools.
“Our priority is the health and well-being of learners, students, educators and workers in these institutions.
“We are also concerned about the growth and development of our children and that an entire generation of learners should not be permanently disadvantaged by this pandemic,” he said.
Classes for grades 7 and 12 learners from 1 June.
“Strict infection control measures and, where necessary, additional water and sanitation infrastructure are being put in place to enable social distancing, regular hand washing and learner safety.
“Measures are also being put in place to ensure safety as children access the school nutrition programme and learner transport,” said the president.
The school calendar will be revised, and the curriculum trimmed so that we can still recover the 2020 school year, Ramaphosa said.
“It is understandable that there is some concern about the reopening of schools, and I must stress that no parent will be forced to send their child to school if they are worried about safety.
“But if we all work together, if we diligently follow all the precautions and protocols, we will be able to keep our schools safe.”
The president said that there are now 22,583 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa, with the country recording its highest 24-hour increase in infections of 1,240 cases on Sunday.
“Tragically, some 429 people have died,” Ramaphosa said.