As parents, it is our job to do what we can to create certainty for our children’s future. One of the ways to do this is to use our knowledge of their abilities and link it to evolving education providers to ensure that our children are equipped to forge the future they want. Curro is future-facing its education approach by expanding its traditional schooling offering to include vocational training and technology-driven education. Gayle Edmunds finds out more about these two new education models.
Stoffel Goosen, head of organisational development at Curro Holdings, says the National Certificate Vocational (NCV) qualification is an example of vocationally focused education that will tackle the country’s skills shortage and the high youth unemployment rate.
What is the NCV and who might best benefit from it?
The NCV is an alternative to the National Senior Certificate (NSC), with a focus on practical training that enables learners to select a career path in a specific vocational field.
The world is starting to acknowledge that the traditional school model is no longer the only effective means of education. Some learners know from a young age what their interests are and they want to focus their learning around these to turn them into a career. An NCV is ideal for these learners, whether they want to become entrepreneurs or find work in a specific sector.
Is an NCV qualification only for those who want to become artisans or who have failed matric?
One of the biggest misconceptions is that the NCV curriculum is easier than the NSC curriculum and is for “non-academic” learners. This is not true. The qualification is of a high standard, the curriculums are industry-aligned and pass requirements are as stringent as those of the NSC.
Do you believe vocational education has a role to play in increasing employability?
Absolutely. It can help fill South Africa’s skills gap and boost productivity and business growth, as well as increase employment. The reality is that a university degree is no longer a guarantee that you’ll get a job. However, for those learners who complete their NCV, further tertiary education – including university – is still an option, so this kind of training can certainly open up more options for learners.
What about the basics of education such as language and numbers?
The NCV incorporates core academic subjects that learners need to take at school, such as languages, mathematics or mathematical literacy and life orientation. Learners not only receive a skills-focused, practical education and workplace education, they also get most of the basics expected from a traditional school.
Curro has successfully piloted the NCV this year. What’s next?
Curro’s mission is to provide a range of education options to make schooling accessible for every child. We launched our NCV offering this year with our pilot campus, Curro Holdings Ltd: Private College – Rivonia, and, based on its success and the needs of the South African education system, we’re aiming to open another two campuses next year. The pilot campus is currently offering two NCV programmes – information technology and computer sciences as well as finance, economics and accounting.
Thembisa Portia Mfundisi’s 16-year-old daughter has found her niche at Curro Holdings Ltd: Private College – Rivonia.
Mfundisi says her daughter has an aptitude for maths and electronics and has found her stride in the school where practical application trumps “theory, theory, theory”.
In fact, her maths marks have risen to 75%, since being enrolled at Curro Holdings Ltd: Private College – Rivonia.
Mfundisi says: “My daughter is loving the programme, she gets to do exactly what she wanted to do – computers.”
She says parents often don’t do enough research into the alternative options available to their children.
DigiEd - evolving for the 2030 workplace
Education needs to adapt and Curro Holdings is evolving its education approach to help learners prepare for the fourth industrial revolution.
Jay Paul, Business Manager at Curro Foreshore, the group’s first DigiEd school that opened this year, says: “Our technology-driven education model is based on international best practice. Our education approaches need to be preparing children for jobs we may not even have imagined yet. Our learners need to develop the skills necessary to compete in the global digital economy.”
- It is an education model conceptualised with the workplace needs of 2030 in mind. The progressive curriculum is focused on maths, science, robotics and coding. However, the focus is not on teaching children to use a specific technology. Rather the focus is on equipping them to understand core concepts and then enabling them to grapple with new technologies.
- While the focus is on technology-driven learning, physical and cultural activities are still included during the school day to create a complete learning experience.
- The school day is longer – from 8:00 until 17:30 – which means that there is no homework and the school hours accommodate the schedules of many working parents.
- DigiEd learning material is pre-prepared and is instantly accessible to learners. This on-demand method means learners are able to move through the material at their own pace.
- The model is designed to be more cost-effective for parents and Curro has reduced many extra costs.
- Learners have access to three levels of Curro teaching staff – subject teachers, tutors with content knowledge and a central team available via Skype to help learners gain the skills to work and learn in the technology-rich world of the future.
- As with all schooling, learners are put through regular testing.
- Two additional campuses at Curro DigiEd Delft (in the Western Cape) and Curro New Road (in Midrand) are open for enrollments for 2020. All the DigiEd campuses are co-ed, English-medium facilities where learners write the National Senior Certificate in their final year.
- This model is ideal for learners with an affinity for maths, science and coding, as well as for those who like to work at their own pace and go above and beyond the curriculum.
- A technology-driven education aims to equip learners with skills that prepare them for the competitive work landscape. Advances in technology will leave no occupation untouched.
- DigiEd incorporates project-based learning following the six Cs of 21st Century skills – critical thinking, character, communication, citizenship, creativity and collaboration – which guide all Curro education.
Carol van der Vyver, whose grandson attends one of Curro’s
new DigiEd schools, is delighted with her family’s experience and says that
this is the right school to develop his interests.
“I prayed about getting the right school for him, and boy, did God provide just that!”
The benefits of the DigiEd offering is that he can work at his own pace and that his homework is done at school.
“He also finds it easier to concentrate with the smaller classes.”