Days Of Full-time, In-School Learning May Be Numbered
New Zealand’s first registered online high school founded in the throes of Covid lockdown in April 2020 attracts 140 students from 21 countries in its first few months
Covid-19 has already accelerated digital enablement in schools and, by 2030, online learning will make up about 50 percent of a secondary school student’s education time according to Jamie Beaton.
Beaton founded Crimson Global Academy with former long-serving Auckland Grammar headmaster John Morris as Executive Principal and former Prime Minister Sir John Key as an adviser.
He says students benefit from world-class teaching talent, small classes, and learning with two international curricula recognised by the world’s most competitive universities.
“In-person learning will always play a critical role in education, as will ‘bricks and mortar’ schools particularly when you consider the need for activities like sport, art, and music.
“However, physical schools come with incredible distractions, and often big classrooms. These are things you can avoid with online schooling when students are sitting quietly at home.
Already many students are discovering that part-time online study, in addition to their current school, is a good way to accelerate and get ahead,” says Beaton.
“My guess is we will see a blend of both in the coming years, but given the dominance of our state schools, a lot will depend on the government’s view on the future of education.
“The Labour Government has done well in its first term, ramping up the capital expenditure programme to improve New Zealand’s school campuses.
“This term the focus must be on the students themselves and improving their opportunities and ability to learn.
Beaton says growing behavioural issues in schools has been a contributing factor to more students and parents investigating and engaging online education providers like Crimson.
“It’s easy to dismiss the thousands of suspensions in schools every year as something only involving bad kids. However, this has a ripple effect right through any school, impacting the high achievers and academically ambitious as well.
“Not only are suspensions negatively affecting over 3,000 New Zealand families, but their impact on other school students is profound. It’s an alarming level of disruption and an unacceptable cost on wider student achievement,”
Latest Ministry of Education figures reveal the number of school students suspended increased from 2,618 students in 2015 to 3,283 in 2019, with the current school year’s data still being collated.
“When you consider this alongside rising behavioural issues, now is the time for students, teachers, and parents to have more choice around what learning environment best serves them,” says Beaton.
“Education Minister Chris Hipkins and cabinet now need to urgently investigate how schools can improve the learning environment and achievement opportunities for most students who want to do well.”