Tech

TAKE A LOOK | A private high school in Johannesburg opens a R3-million eSports Arena, largest in Africa

Business Insider SA
Centennial Schools built a R3m eSports Arena
Centennial Schools built a R3m eSports Arena

  • Centennial Schools opened in January 2022 with a focus on eSports and created a R3-million arena with 1Gbps fibre.
  • Students who take up eSports must take an accompanying physical activity alongside it.
  • It follows the IEB curriculum but includes additional lessons on coding, how to use social media, and crypto and the blockchain.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Centennial Schools is the brainchild of Shaun Fuchs who used his 31-year experience in education to reimagine what a high school should be. It was created as a result of the pandemic, combined with the challenges that South African educational systems face. 

Fuchs previously served as managing director of Reddam House Schools, general manager at Crawford College and the Centurus Colleges Group and headmaster at Crawford Lonehill.  

The school believes the last decade has highlighted how behind the times teaching methods are, but it was the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown that amplified the need for change.

The result is a high school where students don’t have to wear a uniform nor write an entrance exam, but will be interviewed by the school principal, and learn through Microsoft software, take a time out if they are under stress. Each student needs an Asus laptop to attend classes, available in three pricing tiers, a cost excluded from its annual fees. 

The eSports aspect, which forms part of the curriculum, along with other additional masterclasses, is to prepare students for the modern world. 

Centennial Schools says skills learnt through eSports include strategic thinking and planning, managing success and failure, time management, working with others, social skills, and pro-social values.

The biggest drawcard is having the largest eSports Arena in a school, on the African continent. It cost R3 million.

eSports arena
eSports arena

The 300m2 lab is equipped with more than 30 state-of-the-art Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG) gaming machines, screens, and gaming chairs. It runs on a 1Gbps fibre connection with back-up generators while there is load shedding.

It also features 6 Xbox racing simulators with proper racing seats for students to play games like Forza or Formula 1. 

Sim racing
Sim racing


There is a lounge area to relax, and spectator stands with 70-inch TVs to follow all the action.

Lounge and spectator area.
Lounge and spectator area.


The lab has a studio available for podcasting and for students to learn about shout-casting, i.e., how to be an eSports commentator.

Podcast Shoutcast
Podcast Shoutcast


Additional courses include real world social skills like shooting videos, editing it, creating marketing material, music score and composition.

Media, marketing.
Media, marketing.


Classrooms are called learning hubs, and feature standing desks, bean bags, tiered seating, and 'mobi-desks'.

Learning hubs
Learning hubs

There is no “front of the class”.

Creative Hubs are student boardrooms that encourage the exchange of ideas and learn collaboration skills.

Creative hubs.
Creative hubs.

They are encouraged to elect board members and have leaders across any grade, not limited to the oldest grade of student.

There is an on-site campus café called The 100 Café for students, parents and staff.

Cafeteria.
Cafeteria.

It offers drinks, snacks, and hot meals, and features various seating areas, plug points for charging, a foosball table.


School fees

Centennial Schools has a non-refundable application fee of R800 and an enrolment fee of R5,000. 

Tuition for grade 7-9 is R94,200 a year, or R7,850 pm.

Tuition for grade 10-12 is R106,200 a year, or R8,850 pm.

Compulsory Asus laptops is available in three tiers, starting at R12,000. 

This is how it compares to other private schools in Johannesburg:

Crawford Sandton: 

Non-refundable application fee of R800; enrolment fee of R12,000.

Tuition for grade 7 is R133,480 pa, or R11,940 pm.

Tuition for grade 12 is R164,470 pa, or R17,310 over 10 months.

Redhill School:

Non-refundable application fee of R750; enrolment fee of R20,000.

Tuition for grade 7 is R145,000 annually, or R15,950 over 10 months.

Tuition for grade 12 is R175,000 annually or R19,250 over 10 months.

Reddam House (Waterfall):

Non-refundable application fee of R500; enrolment fee of R15,000.

Tuition for grade 7 is R146,238 annually, or R13,034 over 12 months.

Tuition for grade 12 is R162,495 annually or R17,379 over 12 months.

St Stithians College:

Non-refundable application fee of R650; entrance fee for grade 7-9 is R30,555; grade 10 is R17,945; and grade 11-12 is R7,790.

Tuition for grade 7 is R134 650 annually, or R13 465 over 10 months.

Tuition for grade 12 is R157 600 annually or R15 760 over 10 months.

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