Basic Education Proposes New Changes To School Calendar

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Learners lost teaching and learning time during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the Department of Basic Education has since made an effort to make sure that the school year goes back to normal. However, some changes might be implemented to the School Calendar for Public Schools.

 


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On 4 May 2023, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) Minister Angie Motshekga proposed a few but significant changes to the school calendar after consultation with the Council of Education Ministers.

Relevant stakeholder bodies and members of the public have been afforded the opportunity to submit their comments to the Proposed Amendment to the National Policy for Determining School Calendars for Public Schools in South Africa Policy.

The current school calendar has four terms, with the first term starting in February and the last term ending in December.

Here Are The Proposed Changes:

  1. Notices regarding proposed changes to the school calendar will need to be published on the Government Gazette, Basic Education website and on social media. Members of the public are given one month to submit comments on the planned calendar. 
  2. Instead of the school year ending in the second week of December, proposed changes suggest that the school's fourth term end during the first week of December.
  3. The school holidays following the first term should only differ for coastal and inland clusters if the school calendar is staggered. This would see coastal provinces receiving one week of school holidays, whereas inland provinces would receive two weeks.
  4. When it comes to school holidays that are observed at the end of the second, third and fourth terms, rather than specifying in which months these holidays should be granted, updated policy proposes that there will be school holidays after each term. 
  5. Instead of minority religious groups in the school community observing two recognised religious holidays off from school, the suggested Policy points out that the number of days taken off from school ought not be specified.

In addition to this, in the government gazette it has been written that deviation from the policy is allowed in exceptional circumstances and in instances of a pandemic or natural disaster, the Basic Education Subcommittee on School Calendar for Public Schools must urgently meet in response to this.

Organisations, relevant stakeholders and other interested persons in the public have been invited to comment on these proposed changes to the existing Policy until 4 June 2023. 

At the beginning of 2023, DBE had also proposed some changes to the 2026 school calendar, which potentially sees the school year begin on 14 January 2026 and officially end on 9 December 2026. 

What Is The Importance of Changing School Policies?

Changing school policies in South Africa is important for several reasons, for instance, it allows for flexibility in determining open and close times of each term, which can be beneficial for both learners and teachers. 

Such changes also aid in more effective planning and implementation of school programmes and activities.

 

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