UCT high school is less ivory tower, more people power

The UCT Online High School staff will use real-time data to check on their pupils’ progress

UCT’s new online high school will give young people across the country a chance to unleash their potential, says the university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng.

The UCT Online High School, which was launched on Wednesday July 21, is a partnership between UCT and the Valenture Institute, a Cape Town education-technology firm.

Valenture and UCT will jointly appoint teachers in all subjects who will have the most the latest training in online facilitation and student-progress monitoring, says Valenture CEO Robert Paddock.

Admissions are open now for classes starting in January next year.

The online school covers Grade 8 to matric. Fees are R2 095 a month for those pupils wanting small group tutorials, one-on-one lessons, technical support, individual mentoring, internal exams, career guidance and virtual clubs, but the curriculum and learning materials will be available to download for free.

Professor Phakeng said UCT had found that many matriculants who had received a compromised basic education struggled to catch up when they got to university.

“We have also seen the bleak prospects of those South Africans who lack a matric or tertiary certificate and the far-reaching impact this has on them as individuals, their communities and our economy as a whole.”

The UCT Online High School aimed to “level the playing field with an innovative education model”, she said.

Mr Paddock said the school hoped to help pupils who could not afford the fees. “We’re busy working with government, sponsors and philanthropists to help subsidise fees as well as offer bursaries and scholarships and these will be announced in the coming weeks.”

The school would also work through on-site learning coaches to reach pupils in more remote areas who had no computers and data, he said.

Teachers and support coaches will use real-time data to check on their pupils’ progress.

“We use data dashboards every day to see which learners are falling behind, enabling us to keep every learner on track through small group tutoring or one-on-one Ask Me Anything sessions,” Mr Padock said.

Visit www.uctonlinehighschool.com, email admissions@uctohs.valentureonline.com or call +27 21 010 1350 for more information.

Valenture Institute CEO Robert Paddock and UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng.