School kids bracing for more holidays

2011-06-07 10:44

More long weekends lie ahead for the country’s school children who will get June 17 and August 8 off because of their proximity to public holidays, the education department said today.

“It’s not a new decision, we haven’t changed the school calendar,” said spokesperson Granville Whittle.

This was finalised two years ago when the school calendar was published and public comments were invited at the time.

The department had found that when public holidays fall on a Tuesday or Thursday, parents tend to take the in-between working day off and keep their children out of school.

This causes disruptions so it was decided to declare these two days as school holidays.

Whittle said it was not lost teaching time, because this had been factored into the requirement that there should be between 195 and 200 teaching days a year.

Schools were also offered two discretionary days off a year which they could use for an inter-school or inter-house sports event, or for a religious holiday, like Ascension day, which some schools still mark. The school’s district office gives permission for these to be taken.

June 17 and August 8 are not part of the discretionary day allocation – they are proper school holidays.

June 17, a Friday, comes after Youth Day on June 16, and August 8, a Tuesday, is ahead of National Women’s Day on August 9.

Many school were still catching up time lost when children were given extra holidays during Easter, by adding extra time to the school programme every day.

To make up for voting day on May 18, some schools asked children to attend catch up classes on a Saturday or extended the teaching day.

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