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Crimson’s private online high school comes to SA

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 24 Jul 2020

Global edtech company Crimson Education has expanded its offering in the South African market to include online private high school education.

Crimson revealed it will begin to enrol South African learners in its Crimson Global Academy (CGA) for the new academic term starting in September.

The announcement comes as government has decided to once again close all public schools for the next four weeks, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) peak in the country. South Africa has now recorded 408 052 COVID-19 infections, with the total number of deaths surpassing the 6 000 mark and the total number of recoveries at 236 260.

The outbreak of the deadly disease and subsequent COVID-19 national lockdown resulted in an accelerated shift to online teaching and learning in the country.

In May, SA’s largest private education group Curro revealed it will launch a “new school" that will offer online-only teaching. Private firms have also seized the opportunities in the online education space and have been offering multiple e-learning options.

An online mentoring company that helps ambitious high school learners to apply to the world’s top universities, Crimson opened its South African office in March 2018. The firm was started in New Zealand by Jamie Beaton and SA-born Sharndre Kushor in 2013.

CGA, which launched in Australasia earlier this year, is its global online high school, which offers international GCSE and A-level qualification offered through Pearson Edexcel.

SA country manager Rebecca Pretorius says with COVID-19 causing so much uncertainty, shifting to online learning gives students and parents the security of knowing that learning can continue.

“Beyond COVID-19, it also enables highly academic and motivated students to take on more challenging subjects that may not be offered at their brick-and-mortar schools.”

Pretorius points out learners can choose to enrol full-time and complete their entire high school qualification online, or they can enrol part-time, to supplement their education with internationally recognised A-levels, while attending another school.

“At the Crimson Global Academy, students of any age can enrol in any number of International GCSEs or A-levels irrespective of their age. A student can enrol directly into A-level, starting with AS-level, if they display the academic ability to do so. A student can even enrol in one subject at International GCSE and another at A-level.”

According to Pretorius, by enrolling in CGA, local learners will join a network of students from around the world, including the UK, Europe and Russia, adding they will be enrolled in classes based on their academic ability, regardless of age, location, or commitments.

“There is a common misconception that studying online can make students feel isolated. With CGA, the opposite is true. Students become part of a globally connected school community that facilitates the sharing of knowledge in a way that isn’t possible through traditional schooling.

“At the same time, the rigorous curriculum and university-style approach to learning sets students up for success when it comes to university applications in South Africa and abroad.”

Rebecca Pretorius, country manager for Crimson Education South Africa.
Rebecca Pretorius, country manager for Crimson Education South Africa.

CGA classes are taught in small groups, with each online class able to accommodate between three and 15 learners.

Explaining the lesson environment, Pretorius saysCGA uses “best-in-class” technology to deliver an interactive digital classroom.

“Through the most advanced video-conferencing and classroom tools, students and teachers have the ability to interact through live-polls and quizzes, break-out into smaller groups for collaboration, message and chat to provide input and feedback in real-time and use the interactive white-boarding tool to animate, annotate and collaborate with peers. All of the classes are recorded and transcribed to allow for easy study notes and catch-ups, if required.

“Experienced teachers teach all classes in real-time. This means students can ask questions, discuss issues, and receive feedback which is optimal for engagement. This also helps develop soft skills like critical thinking and collaboration.

“On average, there are two to four hours per week of instruction time for each class. This time is scheduled according to a timetable. Some classes may have fewer or higher numbers of instruction time depending on the class or subject.”

The CGA tuition fees start at R26 000 per subject.

South African students have a range of subjects to choose from, including English Literature, Mathematics, Further Pure Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and History, English Language, Business Studies, Economics, French, Spanish, Psychology (A-level), Information Technology (A-level) and Computer Science (IGCSE).

Parents and learners interested in learning more about CGA can tune into a free webinar that Crimson will host on 29 July. Additionally, they can visit or e-mail