A prominent educationalist says with more Kiwi kids engaging in part-time online learning this summer, it’s positive that Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft has supported the flexibility online education can offer many young students.
“It’s really refreshing to hear from the Children’s Commissioner about the importance of versality in education and the need for fair and equitable access to technology for learning,” says Jamie Beaton, Founder of Crimson Global Academy (CGA).
Mr Beaton says we often hear from the Children’s Commissioner responding to negative statistics around child violence and deprivation. For Judge Becroft to also focus on the future of education is an exciting prospect for the new year.
“Young students don’t have anyone independently advocating for them. The Office of the Children’s Commissioner is perfectly placed. I hope we hear more from those in leadership positions in 2021 on how to better meet the education needs of New Zealand’s school students to ensure they’re fully equipped to deal the realities of the 21st Century,” he says.
He says strong advocacy for New Zealand’s young students, and not being afraid to fight for an education system with flexibility and choice, will help secure their futures.
Reflecting on 2020, and the impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns, Judge Becroft observed that for many children being able to work in their own home in their own way was a winner for them. He believes schools have learned that flexibility aids good education success and that’s key to long-term success.
Mr Beaton echoes the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that if the country was ever to go into lockdown again, the country must ensure all children have access to devices and to online learning so they can fully flourish.
A ‘Life in Lockdown’ survey of more than 1,400 young people, published by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner late last year, also highlighted the importance of spending quality time within families.
“Giving children your time is everything. I would also argue that in 2021 providing children with educational opportunities is also more critical than ever before as young New Zealanders face an increasing globalised job market,” says CGA’s Founder.
Mr Beaton says 2020 taught us that online learning suits a lot of students, and for many that means online learning continues this summer.
“It’s important for our decisionmakers to be aware that not every Kiwi kid is completely on holiday this summer. More and more are studying part-time online to achieve internationally recognised qualifications, such as A-Levels.”
He says post Covid-19’s lockdowns and 2020’s reliance on online education, CGA is seeing a spike in interest and enrolments, particularly from those wanting to study over and above their traditional schooling and school year.
“We’ve just hit 200 students which is a significant milestone for CGA. Interest in online learning is stronger than we forecast, as are enrolments from New Zealand students.
“The accelerated Kiwi students we generally see want to keep with their current school, but they want to go deeper and wider. That is, they want to go deeper into a particular subject matter or go wider by taking on subjects or qualifications not offered at their school. That’s where online schooling can be a great supplement,” says Jamie Beaton.
Crimson Global Academy (CGA) opened its virtual doors in April 2020. The first registered New Zealand-based online high school has 200 students enrolled from 29 countries.
CGA students benefit from world-class teaching talent, small classes, and learning with two international curricula recognised by the world’s most competitive universities. Executive principal is former long-serving Auckland Grammar headmaster John Morris, while former Prime Minister Sir John Key and Olympian Barbara Kendall are advisers to the online school.