While South African schools remain closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, Curro Holdings, the country’s largest independent education provider, has announced that its schools are equipped for learning to continue via a virtual and remote learning strategy. 

While the education sector works to move in-classroom education into the virtual realm, Curro has been well-equipped in this department, with the group’s online learning approach stemming from years of development.

The education group’s teachers, staff members and learners will now have access to a set of digital tools and solutions to facilitate remote learning while schools remain closed. 

“Our priority is to ensure our learners continue to receive quality education so as not to fall behind in their studies. During these uncertain times, we’ve implemented a strategy so that learning can continue via online means,” CEO of Curro Holdings, Andries Greyling, says.

South Africa – Johannesburg – 25 February 2020 – Bernardt van der Linde of Curro and Andries GreylingHoldings presenting the official annual results
Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)

Remote learning occurs when teachers and learners are separated by distance, away from a traditional classroom setting. Microsoft Office 365 for Education and other tools have been made available for teachers to connect and engage with groups of learners in real-time to facilitate online lessons. 

Content will also be accessible in the form of recordings. The software also enables teachers to share videos, resources and tasks to aid in learners completing work in their own time – independently or in groups through the use of collaboration tools.

“Virtual and remote learning strategies bring tremendous value to the education space during uncertain times such as these and there is no doubt that it will firmly remain a significant part of the way we learn in the future.” Greyling says.

Many of Curro’s schools already have access to additional digital learning platforms including ITSI Pro, miEbooks and the Snapplify eReader. 

Teachers will therefore continue using these where applicable to maintain the usual routine with their learners. It remains a priority for Curro that their teachers keep in contact with the learners as much as possible.

Curro has also created a package of remote learning training tutorials, available to stream or download. 

SOUTH AFRICA – Cape Town – 21 February 2020. Cloud Support Engineer Tebogo Mpati with grade 9 learners Sibongile Khotseng (left) and Lutho Mkuku. Grade 9 learners at Curro DigiEd in the foreshore during a Python Bootcamp facilitated by local NGO, International Certification in Digital Literacy (ICDL). Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

A remote learning community space has been formed where teachers, executive heads, school management and other staff members can access and share resources, ideas and ask questions in a communal space.

Learners will be able to access all resources on most devices. However, not all learning needs to be online, with some tasks devised to get learners up and moving, and away from their devices. 

Some assignments will still be done on paper and shared with teachers by taking a picture when they need help or to review completed work.  

Learners, parents and staff members are also supported by a dedicated call centre to assist with technical issues to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Curro is aware that this is a critical time for their grade 11 and matric learners, and so the Curro call centre aims to prioritise support for these learners.