Home schooling provider Impaq says that it has seen a record rise in learners for the year as more parents opt to have their children learn from home.
The group reported a total of 19,000 students in March, with this number rising to 24,000 at the end of August, primarily driven by demand for more structured learning, said Impaq’s Louise Schoonwinkel.
Schoonwinkel said that the group’s data points to three key trends among the students – crisis students, cost-conscious families and permanent adopters.
Crisis home schooler
As the hard lockdown started and schools nationwide were shut; many parents had to take aspects of their children’s education into their own hands, said Schoonwinkel.
“While many teachers tried to adapt to online education, the reality is that this wasn’t the core competency of many schools. Teachers had to brush up on online teaching skills and even use some technology for the first time ever,” she said.
“While many teachers adapted, this still made for challenging times. As a result, many parents and learners looked towards companies that specialise in distance learning in order to receive the quality education they required.”
Schoonwinkel said many parents make a switch to our offerings in their search for more structured learning in the home environment.
“For learners in their final school years of Grade 11 or Grade 12, we also saw many parents become concerned about whether their children may struggle to catch up with their studies in preparation for their final exams.”
“Furthermore, when schools started opening during the peak of the pandemic, there were many families who were concerned about contracting Covid-19, especially those with comorbidities or other underlying conditions. For these families, this crisis meant that they had no choice but to switch.”
More cost-conscious families
In addition to the health crisis, families globally had to deal with an economic crisis this year, said Schoonwinkel.
“Amid this backdrop, many parents who have traditionally sent their children to private schools have found that they’ve had to look at more affordable options while maintaining a high level of education for their children.”
Schoonwinkel said that Impaq follows a CAPS-aligned curriculum, which means a child can easily re-enter a traditional school at any point again.
Schoonwinkel said that an increasing number of people have also become early adopters, with this year seeing more families also becoming more permanent adopters of homeschooling.
Many parents – who previously never considered distance learning – have come to prefer this route for their children, and they are now embracing homeschooling for the long term, she said.
“We cannot predict what will happen next in the education landscape as the impact of the pandemic continues to unfold. However, what is clear is that alternatives, such as structured home education, exist and have already helped fill the gap for thousands of children this year.
“We believe that this trend will continue, and we’re here to help parents and learners make the switch if they need to.”