Curro has shown it is possible to build a technologically advanced high school, run it on a government budget, and still make a profit.
Curro opened its DigiEd school in Delft in January 2020, offering an innovative approach to learning at an affordable price.
The school features open-plan classrooms that promote interaction between teachers and learners and a state-of-the-art IT laboratory.
It has a unique e-learning model which uses project-based learning programmes that emphasise science, mathematics, and technology.
Instead of delivering daily lessons, learners use e-learning material with teachers and tutors providing one-on-one assistance where needed.
Learners watch instructional videos, receive multimedia-based material, and have access to remote tutor assistance via the internet.
“By moving the teachers away from the whiteboard, learners can get more immediate and personal assistance to understand a particular concept before moving on,” Curro said.
Curro Delft has longer school hours – from 07:00 to 17:15 – and a no-homework policy to accommodate the schedules of working parents.
Apart from its innovative teaching model, Curro Delft is also unique for offering private education in a traditionally low-income area.
Curro founder Chris van der Merwe has previously offered his services to the government to build and operate schools.
He said he could build government styled and funded schools, on time and within budget, and run it on behalf of the government.
His offer, however, did not get much attention from the government.
Curro Delft now shows what is possible by using the latest technologies and not wasting money. It provides affordable school fees without compromising high academic standards.
The government currently spends around R20,000 per learner in a government school, with sub-par education in many cases.
Curro Delft, in comparison, charges R20,520 per year for a private school education with superior facilities.
Phil Snyman, executive head of Curro Delft, said they were able to bring affordable education to a community which never thought it was possible to get private schooling.
“The area was hungry for Curro’s private education and we adapted our model to lower our fees and give hope to the community,” he said.
Snyman said their new model, where kids work on their own through prepared lessons and access to teachers and tutors when needed, prepares learners for the future.
“It teaches the kids to be responsible, diligent, and do things on their own,” said Snyman.
The tremendous demand for places at Curro Delft shows that the model is working and that parents are willing to pay to get their kids into a private school.
Curro Delft is fully subscribed and has waiting lists for the grades it offers.