5 things to know about UCT’s online high school

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Teenager learning online.
Teenager learning online.
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In an innovative and disruptive move, the University of Cape Town (UCT) has announced that it will be launching an online high school that will teach learners from grade 8 to 12.

Speaking during a media briefing on Wednesday, the vice chancellor of the prestigious University, Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, said that the school would create new opportunities for South African learners.

READ MORE | At home with UCT VC, Mamokgethi Phakeng

“The University of Cape Town is committed to playing our part in addressing the systemic challenges facing our education system," she said. 

"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."

The online high school is in partnership with the Valenture Institute, an education technology company that has developed its own proprietary online model.

Here are 5 things you need to know about UCT’s online high school:

How the school works

According to the school’s website, parents can enroll their children from anywhere in the country. Learners will be able to receive virtual support and feedback from their teachers whenever they need it.

The online school will follow a CAPS-aligned curriculum which prepares students for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam. 

The school is based on six pillars:

  • Personalised pacing
  • Mastery-based
  • Caring teachers and support coaches
  • Supported self-discipline
  • The science of online learning
  • Data-driven support


The first intake will be in 2022 with classes starting in January. Applications opened on Wednesday, 21 July and do not close. However, the Grade 12 intake will only be in 2023.

IsiXhosa and IsiZulu will be offered in the first year but more African languages will be added as the years progress. Grades 8 and 9 would have 10 subjects, with subjects to be added every year. While grades 10,11 and 12 would have 14 subjects. The teacher-learner ratio is 1: 30.


The school charges a flat monthly tuition fee of R2 095 per month for all grades. Parents who want to pay for the year will part with R25 140 per year.

An additional amount of R200 is payable when submitting an application and an additional amount of R300 is added should a learner want to add an extra subject.

Extracurricular activities offered

Just like traditional schools, the online school will offer extracurricular activities – except that these will only be virtual clubs. These clubs include a music club, book club, mindfulness club, debating club and a model UN club amongst others.

Special assistance with UCT applications

Learners who attend the online school will get special assistance when applying at the University of Cape Town after completing their matric. The learners will also receive additional benefits such as UCT virtual open days, grade 9 subject-choice talks, a range of personality assessments and career tools, matching subjects choices, and grades to university study and career opportunities, as well as individual interviews with UCT applicants (and their families where requested).

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