UCT Online School reopens admissions amid Western Cape learner crisis

  • UCT Online High School has reopened its admissions window to aid with the current learner placement crisis in the Western Cape
  • The Western Cape Education Department says it has placed 99.43 percent of its applicants for the 2024 academic year, but schools are completely full.
  • UCT Online High School offers non-traditional online education for more affordable fees.

Schools in the Western Cape are absolutely full and can take no more learners. This is according to the Western Cape Education Department, which issued an announcement on Wednesday that it was fighting to find more places for learners at schools in the province. It has already placed 99.43 percent of applicants it received earlier this year but fears that when more applicants come in next year, it will not be able to place every child.

“Our officials and schools are working hard under extreme pressure to make sure that they find a place for every child. We are leaving no stone unturned in our effort to place every learner, and we will continue to work to finalise placement for all remaining learners whose parents have already applied,” the department said in its announcement.

If you are a parent or guardian concerned that your child may not be placed in before the school year begins, there are alternatives out there, especially in the realm of online education popularised during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of which is the University of Cape Town (UCT) Online High School which announced on Thursday that it has extended its learner placement period in order to help combat the province’s school admission crisis.

“To combat the current schools’ admission crisis, UCT Online High School has extended its placements window to the public for the 2024 school year beginning in January. This month, UCT Online High School officially closed its applications and began placing any new applicants on a waiting list,” the online-only school said in a statement sent to Hypertext.

“With the deadline extension, the waiting list has been removed. While UCT Online High School would like to give all applicants entry, placements are on a first-come first-served basis and will not reopen once these spots are filled,” it added.

This means that the UCT Online High School is once again accepting learners from grade 8 to matric for the 2024 academic year. Though the school is based in the Western Cape, it doesn’t have any region restrictions and while parents in the Western Cape should seek out the school if they have concerns in regards placements, any learner from any province could sign up for 2024.

Apart from not having any physical restrictions, as learners take classes from their homes, UCT Online High School also offers competitive school fees which are lower than most physical institutions. For example, education for high school learners (National Senior Certificate) starts at R2 349 per month.

It also offers an internationally recognised curriculum, from Cambridge International, which starts at R3 530 per month.

Schooling at UCT Online High School is non-traditional. The school details that its “learners benefit from UCT Online High School’s supported self-discipline model, which allows them to pace their learning and get high quality academic support from UCT Online High School’s fully-equipped expert Subject Specialists and Support Coaches whenever they need it.”

However, it is not without issues. Last year it suffered a spate of highly publicised technical problems that stopped some learners from receiving their final marks and others from not being able to access their exam scripts during final exams. Some received incorrectly marked assignments and scripts, and one student reported receiving a marked assignment that belonged to another student.

It is important to note that 2022 was the first year that the UCT Online High School was in operation. It has since said that it has resolved all technical issues timeously and that problems only affected less than 3 percent of learners. No issues have been reported to end the 2023 academic year so far.

Check out the UCT Online High School website for more information.

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