The COVID-19 lockdown has transformed the traditional teaching model and in this note we assess the impact of the lockdown on the South African basic education sector. While most well-resourced schools migrated learning onto online platforms in response to the lockdown, a lack of technological resources stopped teaching at poorer schools. Our assessment of approaches taken by other countries in re-opening schools concludes that there is no ideal approach to re-opening schools. As parents seek safe and affordable alternatives to sending learners back to school, we expect interest in home-schooling to increase.
We find Curro Online School and Evolve Online School online significantly more expensive than existing home-school offerings, however when the hidden costs of home-school education are considered, home-schooling could cost as much as some fee-paying public schools.
We conclude that Curro may be better positioned than ADvTECH to benefit from potential movement of learners from public to independent schools. ADvTECH’s exposure to higher-income consumers may soften the impact of COVID-19 on learner enrolments. We caution that a strong online offering may not be enough to retain enrolments as parents come under increasing financial strain.