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Revised 2020 School Calendar For SA Announced Amid Criticism

NYAKALLO TEFU

THE Department of Basic Education has released a revised calendar for 2020, saying the school year will be completed on December 15 for Grade R to Grade 11 and will not be carried over to the first quarter of 2021.

This is the second time this year that the school calendar has been revised to accommodate the changes that have been brought by the impact of the Coronavirus.

In a statement issued on Saturday night, DBE said the school year will also see learners returning to school on August 24 following last month’s announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“The department considered the impact of the decision on the current calendar. The policy process to amend the school calendar commenced considering the urgency of the matter as necessitated by the prevalent Covid-19 environment,” said the department.

The review of the school calendar comes after a Cabinet decision that schools should break for four weeks.

In his address to the nation last month, Ramaphosa announced that schools will close on 27 July and re-open on 24 August.

 The calendar will be gazetted and published this week.

“The Minister will issue directions for the basic education sector this coming week. The directions will provide guidance on various matters affecting the basic education sector,” the department said.

While this was welcomed by many, others felt that the president and basic education minister Angie Motshekga were bowing to pressure by trade unions, which had written to DBE to shut down schools during the COVID-19 peak.

On Monday, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) criticised the publishing of a new 2020 school calendar in the absence of gazetted dates, saying it had caused chaos and confusion for matric pupils.

Educational MEC Debbie Schäfer said the publishing of a new calendar while failing to gazette directions had caused more chaos in the system, with people now unsure whether matrics had to return today.

“According to the current gazetted directions schools can bring more grades back if they can comply with the protocols, so they are complying with the law,” said Schäfer.

The matriculants will finish writing their year-end examinations by December 15, and marking will be completed by 22 January 2021.

Matric results for the Class of 2020 will be released on February 2021.

The department said the reopening of schools in 2021 would take place on January 25 for teachers, and learners will return at a later date yet to be announced. 

(COMPILED BY INSIDE EDUCATION STAFF)

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