PSS ready to welcome online students

New programme launched

07 February 2021 | Education

The Private School Swakopmund is spearheading a “new normal” in home school circles, with the launch of PSS Online.

This venture is different from other online schools because it offers learners studying from home, the opportunity to interact socially through sport and other group activities.

Swakopmund mom of five Minette Oosthuysen currently home schools three of her children. According to her, she has been home schooling her children for six years and her family is flourishing.

“The kids do extremely well with their international home schooling programme and our family dynamics work. The one thing we find challenging, is to connect our kids to sport and team activities and to address their need for social interaction. I would love the option to click them into an online school that can offer this.”

There is no doubt that 2020 will go down in history as the year in which our perception of school education changed fundamentally. All over the world, the Covid-19 pandemic had parents, students and teachers grounded, sometimes caught off guard, leaving students effectively on holiday for months.

“We were following the news like the rest of the country and held emergency meetings to start planning for the worst case scenario,” says PSS director Hein Daiber.

“The most important issue was to continue with the students’ education and remain in routine, so when the first five positive cases were announced in South Africa, we knew a lockdown in Namibia was imminent and that the time to act was now.”

Added advantage

High school phase head Ilse Liechti adds that PSS had an advantage because the high school teachers (grades 7, 8, IGCSE, AS and A levels) started by integrating the online learning platform Moodle App, as a central learning platform from the beginning of the year, even before Covid-19.

“When the country went into lockdown, we already had the structure in place to transition to online.”

The lockdown in March (2020) was announced at the exact time PSS closed for their first term break and it was perfect timing as teachers could use this time to accelerate transition to the online teaching platform.

The whole country was in full lockdown by the end of term break, but PSS was able to continue as a fully functioning online high school.
When lockdown was over and teachers returned to face-to-face learning, PSS realised that the distance education platform they created during lockdown for high school, could stand on its own as an online school, offering the opportunity to many students to study at a top academic Cambridge school.

“We understand that students could feel isolated when they home school and so we welcome our online students to be part of the PSS family by participating in group activities like sport and the bazaar,” Liechti said.

For online students living in other parts of Namibia, PSS plan a stay-with-a-host family for a week at the end of each term. This week gives online students the chance to do practical work for subjects like Science as well as socialise with their peers.

PSS Online High School has subject teachers, each dedicated to their online students, ensuring that students do their school work at the same pace as the rest of the high school. The year and term planning are the same.

How it works

The Online High School works the same as other Cambridge Online Schools like Wolsey Hall Oxford and CambriLearn.

Students log into their individual Moodle account. This education platform is the communication hub between the student, teacher and parent. Here a student is able to access their daily lessons, upload assignments, have video chats with their teachers and receive the marked assignments.

Parents also have insight into the daily academic progress of their kids simply by clicking on the student profile. Apart from daily video calls with their subject teachers, students can also chat individually to their teachers through this online platform.

Daiber points out that PSS is accredited by the Cambridge Assessment International Education system and as such, are a Cambridge International school.

“This accreditation allows us to assure our parents that our students get the highest academic standard on par with world standards. PSS Online High School students write their IGCSE, AS AND A levels on our premises, because we are accredited by Cambridge as an examination centre,” he explains.

Accessibility

Although it seems that there are many online school choices, a quick internet search shows that only a few are accredited by Cambridge and those offering teacher support are very expensive.

PSS Online has made the commitment to make Cambridge education possible for everyone, by offering a reduced 25% rate for online students, which includes the prescribed e-books.

Affordable Cambridge online education, offering their children social interaction, sport and a lab to do a science project, is a dream come true for many home school parents, but for students the first prize is choosing the best outfit to wear to the summer dance!

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