Distance education is a popular alternative to traditional schooling, as discussed in our previous post which can be found at https://auxilio.co.za/welcome-to-our-blog/, but questions often arise about how it all works. These questions are on everyone’s mind when considering distance education as a schooling option.

Although often confused, distance education and home education are two different things with the same principle. Home education refers to grade R – 9, the compulsory school going years that a child must complete. Home education does not require you to register with a distance education provider, however, you must register your child with the Provincial Education Department at the beginning of each phase. The parent may choose to offer any curriculum that will be of a standard not inferior to the standard of education provided at public schools. Home education takes place primarily at home and the parent is responsible for the education of his/ her child. The parent may make use of a distance education provider for provision of a curriculum, and to assist in assessment.

After compulsory school-going age a student can further his/her studies to acquire a qualification, like the National Senior Certificate (South African matric), Cambridge IGCSE and AS levels, or even vocational qualifications like N1,2 and 3. If a student does not want to go the traditional schooling/college route, he/she can accomplish this through distance education, in which case he/she needs to register with a distance education provider that is registered with an accredited assessment body. Distance education providers provide students with different levels of support regarding teaching and learning and they assess the students’ progress up until the student acquires the relevant qualification.

Entering into distance education for the FET phase (Gr10 – 12) is something that needs to be considered carefully, as mentioned in our previous blog. But doing so is easy, and yes, it is within the law as long as you register with a distance education provider. Your FET phase of schooling is an NQF level 2-4 and is a national qualification, thus you must follow regulations. This does not make it more difficult than traditional schooling, it simply makes it a different approach to the same challenge. Here are a few helpful tips to make your distance education experience easy and enjoyable.

  1. Investigate all the options. Don’t pursue, or encourage your child to pursue, distance education if you are not certain of your, or their, needs and wants. Figure out how the student feels about all the options first by weighing up the pros and the cons of all options to ensure a thorough investigation has been conducted. Remember, the goal is to find the option that will allow the student to succeed, not what will be easiest for them or their parents,
  2. Once the student has decided that distance education is the answer to the FET qualification challenge, find a suitable, registered Distance Education Provider such as Auxilio Distance Education. Finding the right Distance Education Provider is important because each one offers something different while other aspects of each Distance Education Provider overlaps. By ensuring you have the one that you feel suits the student’s needs and wants, you will be setting the student up for success.
  3. Create a quiet, calm, and comfortable space for the student to work in. Albeit on the kitchen counter, what matters is that the student find their space to be sparking both confidence in themselves and focus on the task at hand. We would hate for the student to work in a space that does not allow for their creativity and intelligence to flourish because they are unable to focus on tasks at hand.
  4. Plan, plan, plan. Planning a day may seem dubious, but it helps to organize your day to ensure that the student has enough time to get through the curriculum as well as getting the assessments done. Creating a planner for the week, month, or even the year, can assist the student to organize their mind and their time so that they can get everything done.
  5. Seek help if needed. The student must never feel ashamed, or be made to feel ashamed, for needing help. If the student is struggling, find them a tutor that can help them with subjects and areas that they struggle with. Remembering that the goal is not to have a tutor or teacher teach them the entire syllabus, the goal is for the student to learn on their own time, in their own way. The goal of a tutor should be to just give a helping hand where necessary.
  6. Stay motivated. It is very easy for a distance education student to fall into bad habits and lazy tendencies, so it is best to keep the student motivated and help them to find the things that motivate them and stick them everywhere, and I really mean everywhere. By seeing things that motivate them, the student will consistently be re-enforcing that motivating energy to continue working hard and to be able to succeed. It sometimes helps to also stay active and socialize at appropriate times because that could only reinvigorate the motivation that the student feels.

Distance education seems like quite a challenge, but doesn’t every method of schooling come with its challenges? The key is to understand whether this is the answer for the student or not. Allowing the student to take responsibility is another key aspect to distance education because this not only prepares the student for the changing job environment, hybrid and work-from-home, it also prepares them for life in general. Just remember, when considering distance education, this is not the easy way out, this also comes with its own challenges.