In 2020 the disruption in education (that many “progressive thinking” educationalists have been waiting for) has hit. As countries across the world started to shut down borders and impose “lock-down” regulations on their own people, – the education sector, was thrown into a state of catch up.
We look back over the year and find parents and children have experienced very different academic and social experiences during the lock-down period. Some students have managed to maintain a good work ethic and have been fortunate to have online lessons, but then there have been other students who have simply got lost in the lack of direction and motivation. Many parents are concerned over what has transpired over this last academic year. It is welcoming news that mainstream schools have made many concessions for students to be able to move to the next grade, but the underlying question that not many parents are asking, but certainly thinking is, “Is my child prepared academically, to move on?” As final year reports make their way to parents, many will be faced with several questions. One of which is- should my child move schools? We have compiled a list of 5 simple tips to look out for when selecting a High School for your child in 2021.
1. Class Size
It is important to note that although the current statistic is a ratio of 1 educator to 31.3 learners (9 Jan 2019) according to Stats SA, this figure is increasing rapidly. It is possible that your child could well sit in a class of up to 65 learners. In this scenario, the Educator will be spending more time on policing and behavioural issues, than actually educating. Ask your prospective school to see the classrooms and ask how many learners are in each class. Ultimately you want to hear that the number of learners per teacher is as low as possible. This will most definitely increase the time spent on academics.
2. The Curriculum used
In trying to find statistics it would seem that our South African education system ranks anything between the third from the bottom of the list, to 84th in the world. With that being said, when you are considering a school, keep in mind that we are in a global village. If it is one thing that we have learnt during this COVID 19 pandemic, it is that the world has become a smaller place. It has created opportunities for our youth to expand their horizons further than just our borders, without having to leave the country. You really want to be making sure that your child has a recognizable high school qualification, not only in good marks but in the knowledge that was instilled during their high school years. There are many internationally accepted curricula available here in South Africa and that our South African universities acknowledge.
3. Focused on preparing Students for life
When selecting a school, this might be the most important tip of them all. “What good is a wagon without a horse to pull it?” In this day and age the trend of just obtaining academic certificates is fast diminishing. Employers are looking for employees that are well rounded and have the ability to be agile. Academic students might have the “textbook” knowledge to do the job, but ultimately in business, time is money and experience is a huge bonus. Make sure to look out for a culture in school that focuses on not only academics but cultivates an environment to learn valuable life lessons from peers and from experienced educators. You want your child to have a “toolbox” that fixes them for the “big wide world”. The best way to look out for this is to see how much “spoon-feeding” is made use of versus allowing learners to be challenged on a daily basis.
4. The pass mark
Imagine a doctor qualifying with only knowing 35% of what they actually should know. The question is would you go to such a doctor? When we are held to a higher standard then we aim higher. A pass mark of 33% is equivalent to hopping over a puddle and very little effort is required to get over that “puddle”. To get over a river will take time, planning and a little self-motivation. Find out what the school thinks of a minimal pass mark. It could speak to the expectation educators will have on their learners.
5. Inter & Intra Personal relationships
“Did you know that teaching does not equal learning? “
“What should education for our times look like?”
“In which environment does the optimal learning take place?”
Schools should focus on the importance of the quality of human interactions between a teacher and the young people in their care. This is a million miles away from the dominant paradigm of discipline and data-driven accountability. Moreover, the driving force in schools should be to build a stronger, more connected, and more compassionate society by starting with relationships in schools.
Anyone who has observed children in a setting that is based on cooperation and mutuality knows this to be so. A safe, caring environment where kids can learn from and about each other, where they can establish enduring relationships with teachers, peers and mentor figures (Inter-personal relationships), where they learn to understand themselves (Intra -Personal relationships) and where they experience the interconnectedness of all life on a daily basis, provides for the best learning experience.
Have you found that school?
At Peak Academy we do: 1:10 Ratio ; International curriculum; 60% Pass mark; Relational education