SA parents cram online lessons on how to teach their kids

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SA parents cram online lessons on how to teach their kids

Several learning sites say inquiries about homeschooling and learning material have flooded in

Journalist
Nomfanelo Bovu reads a special story to her granddaughter Olitha Mangcayi during this time of isolation.
ONCE UPON A TIME ... Nomfanelo Bovu reads a special story to her granddaughter Olitha Mangcayi during this time of isolation.
Image: Damien Schumann

Confined to their homes after last week’s lockdown, parents are turning to free and paid learning websites in a desperate bid to assist their children with extra lessons.

But despite basic education minister Angie Motshekga announcing on Thursday her department had prepared online and broadcast support resources that would be available from Wednesday, she also admitted children in rural areas would be left in limbo if they did not have access to television and the internet.

She said the programmes would include broadcast lessons on TV and community radio stations.

On the upside though, Riaan van der Bergh, education technology manager at the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools, said although the pandemic was a “tragic event”, it would have a beneficial spin-off for technology in the classroom.

“The effective use of integration of available technology will revolutionise the assistance given to learners and the delivery of the curriculum in the short term.”

Several online learning sites said they had been inundated with inquiries about homeschooling and learning material that schools had not provided to pupils.

Online education company Advantage Learn is one of the companies offering maths video lessons free of charge to Grade 8-12 pupils affected by the shutdown.

From their side, the READ Educational Trust offers a series of home activities, including a self-discovery game to “stimulate conversation and set imaginations alive”.

Nal’ibali – a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign – offers three new stories every week via e-mail or SMS and a short, detailed guide on helping children to read and write at home.

The effective use of integration of available technology will revolutionise the assistance given to learners and the delivery of the curriculum in the short term.
Riaan van der Bergh, Fedsas

Google has announced that its resource for teachers, Teach from Home, would provide information on how to teach online and make lessons accessible to pupils.

International online learning site Cambrilearn’s James Milne confirmed to Times Select they had “a massive daily influx of schools and tutoring services” using their services since the start of the pandemic.

Another website, Virtual School, said there had been a 300% increase in inquiries for study materials over the past few weeks.

Pupils and parents were provided with a “student tracker” to keep track of progress and guide pupils “through challenging content”.

“Live lessons are recorded and made readily available for students to rewatch as often as necessary.”

Steve Masters, from online learning site Virtual School, said there was a 300% increase in inquiries over the past few weeks.

“The rates for online tutoring vary from free to R300 per hour.”

Parent Errol Henn said all the pupils were supplied with study material in hardcover textbooks as well as online tasks and tutorials.

Langa Klaaste, who has been homeschooling his two children for the past three years, said since the shutdown he had inquiries from other parents wanting to know about the value of homeschooling.

Meanwhile, scores of private schools, including St Davids Marist Inanda in Johannesburg, are continuing with normal schooling online.

Bonnie Xaba, who teaches isiZulu to grades 9, 11 and 12, said pupils followed a normal timetable from 7.30am until 1.15pm daily.

“Through Google Hangouts, I can see everyone on my screen, and the learners each other.”

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