Career Moves

UP alumni, postgraduate students launch digital school

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Remote-learning platform Wingu Academy has become the latest start-up to emerge from the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) TuksNovation tech start-up incubator and accelerator programme.

Developed by teachers, UP alumni and postgraduate students who hold advanced degrees in their respective fields, and in collaboration with researchers at the Wits School of Education, Wingu offers an international curriculum that is relevant globally but contextualised for the African continent.

The remote learning platform offers educational support to schools, tutoring centres and home-schoolers in Africa, with live classes and tutorials, interactive online content that is aligned with the requirements of the fourth industrial revolution, and continuous assessment.

The Wingu Academy provides bespoke educational solutions that meet the individual needs of parents and learners.

It caters to learners between the ages of five and 19, with a variety of choices to support individual learning at home, or to supplement a programme followed at a tutoring centre or school.

It also offers a 100% online learning school via the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE).

The Wingu Academy primary school provides British International Primary and Lower Secondary curriculum. The high school provides the International GCSE and A-level curriculum. Its learning strategy includes interactive one-on-one online lessons, specialised online content, assessments, video tutorials, gamification, and learner and parent support programmes.

The academy, which launched in June, says it has seen rapid market adoption, with a vibrant community of schools, parents, students and tutors collaborating.

“This online platform presents children with the opportunity to engage with high-tech education innovation with the personal touch of face-to-face teaching,” says Isabel Schimper, a lecturer in speech-language pathology and audiology at UP.

“We joined the Wingu family in June 2020. As an academic and a lecturer, I have high expectations of educational content, systems and facilitators or teachers. Our 11-year-old daughter has been home-schooled using the Cambridge curriculum for the past few years due to a health condition. We are truly impressed with the welcoming and supportive online community at Wingu.”

The academy says its mission is to provide affordable world-class education to the African continent, implementing the latest teaching methods and technologies via practise and research.

The growth of the platform, according to Wingu Academy, has largely been organic via word of mouth through digital channels, with neighbouring African countries, including Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini and Zimbabwe, expressing interest.

For schools, Wingu Academy’s interactive online lessons and quizzes can be used by teachers as an additional resource to facilitate learning.

Tutoring centres, which usually only have a facilitator and no teachers, can benefit by utilising Wingu Academy’s on-demand teachers and tutors through daily, live online classes, while home-schoolers can have access to subject expert teachers, from the comfort of their homes, it says.

Wingu is suited to full-time learners, those who travel frequently, and athletes who need to focus on training but want an internationally recognised education.

It also prepares learners for a university education. “Qualifications obtained through Wingu allow for entrance into major international tertiary institutions, including Ivy League and Oxbridge universities. International external exams are written at centres closest to the candidate’s home and are overseen by UK-based examination bodies,” says the academy.

Enrolments for international programmes are still open and include a course that allows students to catch up. Candidates transitioning from other local examination bodies are welcome to apply.

Users are charged a monthly fee, which includes access to daily, live online classes, the interactive online system, online social events and continuous assessments in the form of a mock exam and test series. Fees are determined according to the age of the students involved.

Tutor centres and schools joining the platform are also required to pay.

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