UCT becomes first university in Africa to launch an online high school

Johannesburg – The University of Cape Town (UCT) has launched an online high school, becoming the first university on the African continent to extend its expertise and impact to the secondary school sector through an innovative online modality.

As a number of top universities – such as Stanford’s Online High School – have now proven, the academic excellence of universities can be extended to high school students, and create new opportunities for a diverse group of learners to join an aspirational school.

The Covid-19 crisis has shown UCT’s capacity to lead with innovative responses and imagination.

However, the crisis has also amplified a number of the challenges already facing the education sector, and bold steps are required right now to bring more cohesion to the education system, and provide more access for the next generation of leaders.

On the announcement of this new initiative, UCT’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, said: “UCT is committed to playing our part in addressing the systemic challenges facing our education system. As a result, we have taken the bold step to launch an innovative online high school in January 2022, where the academic excellence of UCT can be extended to high school learners across the country. The UCT Online High School will create a new opportunity for learners across South Africa to choose an aspirational school and unleash their potential.”

UCT has partnered with a Cape Town-based education technology company, Valenture Institute, to deliver the UCT Online High School. Valenture’s proprietary learning technology, analytics and learner support model is at the forefront of online and blended learning.

Valenture’s CEO, Robert Paddock, said: “We’re delighted and humbled to partner with UCT on this ground-breaking initiative.”

The UCT Online High School ecosystem has been designed to service South African learners from a broad range of socioeconomic means. It offers a CAPS-aligned curriculum, and enables learners in grades 8-12 in any corner of the globe with the opportunity to study at a monthly fee of R2 095 per month, making it one of the most affordable private schools.

Admissions for the UCT Online High School opened on 21 July 2021, with classes commencing in January 2022, after which learners will be able to enrol at any time, from wherever they are in the world. Learners will benefit from the UCT Online High School’s supported self-discipline model, which allows learners to pace their own 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 entire curriculum will be made available for free in an interactive online platform called the Open UCT Online High School. Users of the free content 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 interactive notes, videos, animations, simulations, practise 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.

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