Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls was founded in 2007 by American entrepreneur and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey in Henley on Klip, Gauteng Province, to provide educational and leadership opportunities to girls in South Africa who are economically disadvantaged.
The inspiration to launch the academy was born following a discussion with then South African president Nelson Mandela in 2002. Five years later, Oprah fulfilled her dreams by establishing the self-named leadership academy for girls. The academy is an all-girls boarding school for Grade 8 to Grade 12 students.
Since its launch, it has enrolled over 500 students, and its graduates have attended top universities, including Oxford, Spelman, and Stanford Medical School. The highly-rated private school prides itself in offering holistic education, care, and support to academically gifted girls from impoverished backgrounds in South Africa who have leadership traits for making a difference in the world.
History of The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls
In 2002, while Oprah was discussing with former South African president Nelson Mandela about how to combat poverty, the late ANC comrade revealed to her that he believed education was the best way to overcome poverty. She then told him her intention to build a girls’ school in the country. Immediately, the former president set plans in motion on how to actualize Oprah Winfrey’s dream of giving hope to girls with disadvantaged childhood.
The American philanthropist spent more than $40 million erecting the state-of-the-art facility in Henley on Klip, where the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls calls home. The school opened its door to its first class of girls in 2007, and they were 72 in number.
Though most of these girls come from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities and have faced the complexities of anxiety and depression, they graduated in 2011 more confident and articulative.
Interestingly, all the 72 graduates in the first senior class gained full college scholarships. To help the students succeed academically and also heal emotionally, Oprah Winfrey has built a strong network of teachers, psychologists, and social workers to support them in their academic journey.
Oprah Winfrey School Subjects
As a forward-thinking, cutting-edge academy, Oprah Winfrey school focuses on providing excellent and high-quality education and skills that will prepare the students for the future. Hence, the key objective of the academic team is to promote the development of well-rounded young women.
They plan to achieve this through pursuits extending into arts, science, humanities, and sport. Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls boasts an impressive academic record which has seen all the graduates of the academy getting qualified and registered for university courses.
At OWLAG, the subjects are grouped into two phases, namely, the GET and FET phases. While the former is for Grade 8 and Grade 9 students, the latter are designated for students who have successfully met the academy’s promotion requirements, and the subjects are compulsory.
GET Phase Subjects
- Home Language: English
- First Additional Language: Afrikaans, Sesotho, or isiZulu
- Natural Sciences
- Social Sciences
- Life Orientation
- Economic Management Sciences
- Creative Arts
FET Phase Subjects
- Home Language: English
- First Additional Language: Afrikaans, isiZulu, or Sesotho
- Life Orientation
- Mathematics or Mathematics Literacy
- Computer Applications Technology
- Business Studies
- Dramatic Arts
- Information Technology
- Physical Sciences
- Life Sciences
- Visual Arts
Oprah Winfrey School Fees
As one of the best private schools in South Africa, Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls was built with campus facilities on 52 acres of land and features a high-tech computer laboratory, a library housing 10,000 books, a wellness center, and a 600-seat theatre with multi-function stage.
With all the top-notch facilities, one might assume that the school ranks among the most expensive private schools in SA. The fact is that Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls’ school fees are yet to be made public.
According to reports, OWLAG is classified as a quantile three school, making it a tuition-free school as the students reportedly get funding of R1,177 per head from The Department of Education. In the early stages of the academy, during the admission process, Oprah Winfrey interviewed 152 seventh-grade and eighth-grade students.
They were accepted to the school on a tuition-free fee structure. With most students coming from impoverished backgrounds, OWLAG constantly offers scholarships to its students. For enquiry regarding payable fees for study at Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, you can get in touch with the school through the following contact details:
- Physical address: 534 Wargrave South, Henley on Klip 1961, South Africa
- Phone number: +27 (016) 336 9008
- Email address: [email protected]
OWLAG Academic Structure
The academic structure at Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls is based on five major subjects. They are Arts, Languages, Humanities, Science, and Maths. Here are the reasons why the academy centers its teaching process on these major subjects.
Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls introduces its students to Arts to develop them into creative and imaginative individuals with the basic knowledge and skills to participate in Arts activities.
The academy further aims to prepare them for future career paths in Arts. It’s worth noting that involvement in Arts is associated with gains in mathematics, critical and creative thinking, reading, cognitive abilities, and verbal and non-verbal skills.
OWLAG’s medium of instruction is English, and the students complete the Independent Examination Board’s (IEB) curriculum. By learning diverse languages, students are developed into critical thinkers, and the concepts crucial to the academy’s involvement with the students are facilitation, collaboration, and reflection.
As the OWLAG’s home language is English, students then choose a first additional language from Afrikaans, isiZulu, and Sesotho. This is to promote the study of other home languages.
At OWLAG, students are made to appreciate the diversity of human attitudes, cultures, and beliefs by introducing them to humanities study. The term humanities encompass the study of many disciplines, including Business Studies, Accounting, History, Geography, Economics, and ICT.
In Grades 8 and 9, these subjects encompass aspects of interdisciplinary learning with a strong focus on collaborations such as Economic and Management Sciences (Accounting, Economics, and Business Studies) and Social Sciences (Geography and History).
Then from Grade 10 to Grade 12, students may opt to study only one of the following subjects:
- Business Studies
To develop young scientifically-minded African women leaders, Oprah Winfrey’s school teaches the students how to manage new inventions, and the exposure to scientific principles will enable them to join the industry as research scientists or technologists. At OWLAG, the Grade 8 and Grade 9 science subjects develop diverse skills in the students, and they include skills of:
- Analyzing information
- Planning and designing
- Data recording
The teaching of Mathematics at Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls goes beyond the teaching techniques and methods to solve high school mathematical problems but to equip students with the necessary skills, knowledge, beliefs, and values to develop mathematical autonomy, an investigative approach to mathematics, and the correct use of mathematical vocabulary.