An academy that bills itself as the world’s first global private online high school, which is right here in SA, accepted its first students in January 2020 — just before Covid-19 threw education into complete disarray.

The Valenture Institute is the brainchild of entrepreneur Rob Paddock, the creator of short course platform GetSmarter. Covid-19 was its first real test, but Paddock, its CEO, says the school didn’t skip a beat.

“If Covid has done anything, it has woken us up to the fact that there is a new set of demands and needs that education must meet,” he says.

All its learning was already taking place online. “We were lucky that Covid didn’t change much for us; if anything, it just accelerated the work we were doing.”

The Valenture Institute had the same number of learner applications between June and August 2020 as it did in the preceding nine months. If anything, that’s a major indicator of the need to shift to online learning, says Paddock. The school has three intakes per year: January, July and September.

It follows a UK curriculum and its GCSE qualifications are recognised by SA universities as well as global ones including Oxford, Yale, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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