The Department of Basic Education is calling on stakeholders and members of the public to participate in its current school calendar structure by proposing amendments.
The proposed amendments are intended to better incorporate public holidays into the school calendar.
The calendar is currently used to determine how many religious holidays are given to those that form part of the education sector. However, following the amendment, only the Head of Departments in each of the country’s 9 provinces will have full authority over this decision.
The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the department had to amend the calendar with very minimal consultations. In relation to the country’s religious minority, the policy currently only allows learners two days to observe their religious holidays which is not consistent with the constitution according to the department’s chief of Provincial Monitoring, Sihlle Mlambo.
Those number of days are inconsistent with the Constitution in the sense that it limits the number of days. We are now saying it must be an open process depending on the approval of the head of the Department of that particular Province to allow days for religious observance.
Additionally, the policy requires the department to publish its school calendar in newspapers, which the department is currently unable to do to resource limitations. The department has thus proposed to instead use its official websites, stakeholder websites and social media platforms.
Another crucial aspect of the proposed policy amendment to the school calendar is that the department wants to be able to conclude the final school term, on the first week of December as opposed to the current second week as stipulated by the policy.
The Department has said this would enable a much earlier release of final exam results by the Minister of Basic Education.
The public has been given until Sunday 4 June 2023 to submit their comments. The notice of the policy can be accessed through the following link which will direct them to the proposed amendments.