Solutionist Thinking with RMB is a thirteen-episode podcast series hosted by Bruce Whitfield focusing on the great South African minds who are thinking differently and going against the norm. In the ninth episode, Whitfield speaks with SPARK Schools co-founder and CEO, Stacey Brewer.
When people are asked about the state of education in South Africa, the popular opinion is that the system is in crisis, and that the future is bleak.
The other opinion, for those focused on solutions rather than problems, is that there is a massive opportunity.
The education status is dire… It is up to us as citizens of this country to create the change.— Stacey Brewer, CEO of SPARK Schools
Meet Stacey Brewer: CEO and co-founder of the SPARK Schools – a network of schools offering affordable, competitive education in a blended learning model that uses technology to drive cost-efficiencies and quality of education – at the same price as government.
Textbooks have been completely removed from our learning model.— Stacey Brewer, CEO of SPARK Schools
The SPARK Schools learning model makes use of software that provides “an individualised path for each individual child for them to master basic objectives” and tracks their progress regularly, Brewer explains.
No child can be left behind, or even fall through the cracks.— Stacey Brewer, CEO of SPARK Schools
The SPARK Schools does not employ the state curriculum, but is rather “aligned” to it, Brewer says.
We absolutely meet the basic requirements nationally – but then we extend on what’s required internationally.— Stacey Brewer, CEO of SPARK Schools
In Grade R, for example, South African learners are only expected to be able to count to ten. At SPARK Schools and internationally, Grade R learners are able to count to 100.
Brewer and Ryan Harrison co-founded SPARK Schools in 2012, opening their first in 2013 in Johannesburg. The first year before the launch of SPARK Schools was extremely difficult, Brewer says.
We had no credibility. We had no track record. It was just a couple of people with great ideas.— Stacey Brewer, CEO of SPARK Schools
Five years later, their network has grown to serve more than 6000 scholars at almost twenty campuses.
Take a listen to Stacey Brewer discuss SPARK Schools’ innovative approach in conversation with Bruce Whitfield in the full episode of Solutionist Thinking with RMB below: