The University of Cape Town (UCT) says that public response to its online high school ‘has exceeded all expectations’ since launching in July.
“Across South Africa’s cities and towns – and the African continent – parents, learners and teachers have shown interest in this revolutionary education offering, with over 4,000 learner applications for January 2022 and climbing,” it said in a statement on Monday (20 September).
The university also moved to announce the appointment of its UCT Online High School (OHS) director and principal, Yandiswa Xhakaza. Starting as an English teacher in 2010, Xhakaza comes from leading a national literacy organisation, the Nal’ibali Trust, where she served as chief executive officer.
She holds a Bachelor of Education (Wits University), a Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Wits University) and a Master of Business Administration (University of Pretoria).
“Online education in our context will always come with its fair share of challenges as a developing country. The digital divide is significant, and we have to work around the digital barriers such as poor network coverage, data costs, access to devices and computer literacy, to mention a few,” Xhakaza said.
“This is exactly the type of challenge I am excited about because when we get this right, it will be a massive win for all of us.”
The UCT Online High School ecosystem has been designed to service learners from a broad range of socioeconomic means.
It offers a CAPS-aligned curriculum and enables learners in grades 8-11 in any corner of the globe with the opportunity to study at a monthly fee of R2,095 per month – R25,140 per year, making it one of the most affordable private schools in the country. Grade 12 will be offered from 2023, the university said.
Learners benefit from the UCT Online High School’s supported self-discipline model, which allows learners to pace their learning and get high quality 1:1 tutoring from expert teachers and support coaches whenever they need it. Learners will also be prepared with a unique range of university and career preparation services and offerings.
In addition, the curriculum will be made available from January 2022 for free in an interactive online platform called the Open UCT Free Curriculum. The free content users will be issued a learner number to save their unique learning path and data, with unlimited logins permitted.
Learners have full access to a self-paced curriculum where they can progress at their own pace through expert-designed notes, videos, animations, simulations, practice assignments, quizzes and more.
The interactive content is intuitively organised and easily searchable, making it an excellent resource for teachers and learners around the country to benefit from.
In its first year, the free curriculum will be released in increments per grade, UCT said.