Thursday, 11 September 2014

Can Low-Cost Private Schools Change the Education Scenario in South Africa?


The focus has again shifted to the quality of education provided by the South African education system as the required pass marks for grade 7, grade 8 and grade 9 have been increased recently. Affordable private schools are becoming more and more popular as these institutes claim to offer world-class private education at only a part of the regular costs. How do you think this will affect the future of education? Let's find out.... 

Affordable, But Not Cheap
Numerous private schools that charge low fees are gradually gaining ground across South Africa. For instance, the Spark Schools, established under the administration of the eAdvance Group, are among these affordable institutions that are raking in students from all over the region. The primary schools were founded by Ryan Harrison and Stacey Brewer while both of them were studying MBA at the Gordon Institute of Business Science. The institutes offer low-cost private education by following the blended learning approach. The property management branch of eAdvance manages to keep the rental costs low. 

The initial Spark School was established in 2013 and acquired ground-breaking academic results. The model seems to prove effective as the founders are now gearing up to open the 3rd and 4th Spark Schools opening in Maboneng and Bramley, Johannesburg by January 2015. 

Stacey Brewer, CEO of eAdvance and co-founder of Spark Schools, says “Our blended learning model allows for high-quality education at an affordable cost. By using online learning together with conventional classroom teaching, we capture data on all our children, and based on how they’re achieving, we’re able to address every child’s individual needs so we can differentiate our instruction accordingly.” 

Merging Technology And Education
Taking inspiration from the Spark Schools in Johannesburg, eAdvance has developed long-term plans to establish similar institutions across South Africa. Apart from them, Curro Holdings, an independently-owned and operated Christian private education group, is also striving to provide low-cost private education by merging traditional learning and technology. The establishment is expanding rapidly with more than 33 nursery, primary and high schools throughout South Africa. They aim to establish over 80 schools by the year 2020. 

Moreover with the advent of Pioneer Academies, a new private school network, affordable private institutes with low-cost private schools with inventive education approaches are becoming more popular. 

The group is established by Chinezi Chijioke who formerly led the African Education Practice of McKinsey & Company. With support from private investors, the group is determined to offer cheap yet comprehensive education with sufficient focus on academic as well as emotional development. The network will start their first school next year in Ormonde. 

Brewer of eAdvance believes that affordable private schools are undeniably the future of education in South Africa. She says “We’re providing an education model that’s affordable to the country. One of the greatest proportions of our national budget goes to education, yet we can provide education at the same costs that government is spending, but our quality outcomes are internationally competitive.” 

What do you feel about the present state of education in SA? Do you think low-cost private schools can change the South African education system? If you want to share your own views and opinions on this topic, then feel free to comment below. We would love to hear from you. 

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