Strengthen online learning, as 50% of classroom time is already lost
Online School, Brainline, has called for the strengthening of online learning amid reports that learners have already lost 50% of classroom time this year alone. During a briefing by the Department of Education at the weekend, it was revealed that 80% of school time was lost in 2020. The consequences of the unraveling of the 2020 school year spilt over into the 2021 school year, with thousands of learners, from Grade R to Grade 12, either not starting school or not returning to class. Brainline CEO, Coleen Cronje, says there has simply just not been enough classroom time for the majority of learners this year.
‘The research shows that during the 2021 school year, about 10 000 fewer children between the ages of 7 to 14 returned to school, while 25 000 fewer children started Grade R or Grade 1. It is, therefore, unrealistic to think that learners will be able to make up for lost time during the remaining few months of the year, using traditional schooling methods and the need for online learning cannot be over emphasise,’ Cronje says.
The Covid-19 crisis has forced education systems worldwide to find alternatives to face-to-face instruction. As a result, online teaching and learning have been used by teachers and students on an unprecedented scale. Cronje says rethinking education post-Covid means a paradigm shift to online learning.
‘It is of utmost importance for government and stakeholders to identify which policies can maximise the effectiveness of online learning. Since parents and teachers play a fundamental role in supporting students to develop these crucial attitudes, particularly in the current situation, targeted policy interventions should be designed with the aim of reducing the burden on parents and help teachers and schools make the most of digital learning,’ Cronje explains.
Cronje says considering the alternative of no schooling, online schooling has been an important tool to sustain skills development during school closures. She says it will remain a critical tool in light of the ongoing school closures around the country due to Covid-19 outbreaks.
‘The majority of South Africans have access to the internet, millions via their mobile phones. It is, therefore, not impossible to imagine education moving towards a more sustained online learning system. Online learning provides the opportunity for students to learn and be taught from literally anywhere in the world, by the best teachers in the world, without being limited to the confines of physical space in any way, shape or form.’
Meanwhile, Cronje says Brainline, who has been operational for more than 30 years, continues to witness exponential growth, with learners indicating a preference to the stability that online and uninterrupted learning offers. She says enrolment for 2022 will opened on 1 September.
‘Brainline continues to bridge the gap to accommodate the digital age through innovative technology. Our teachers present online classes in innovative ways, challenging the status quo of blackboard teaching. These online classes are essentially breaking down the invisible walls of traditional teaching, by presenting the curriculum in new and exciting ways, bringing the classroom to life, and invigorating the lesson material. In this way, Brainline is revolutionising home education for today’s learner,’ Cronje explains
Brainline is IEB recognised and learners who are enrolled with the school can complete their final examinations. Those who fulfill the requirements for this qualification will receive their National Senior Certificate (NSC), as issued by Umalusi.
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