Kids must finish school terms

2019-06-18 06:00

The 2019 school calendar is clear in terms of school closure dates.

Schools closed for the 2019 mid-year holidays on Friday 14 June.

Unfortunately, it has become apparent that some learners go on “holiday” early.

Where South Africa struggles to attain acceptable learner outcomes in international benchmark tests, it is unacceptable that up to four weeks of school is lost in the year, due to learners staying at home after tests or examinations. We can ill-afford this and learners must attend school and teaching must happen until the last day of the term. This is the norm in high performing schools. I appeal to parents to cooperate and to not allow learners to stay home before the school term has officially ended.

Learners that are not writing exams, must still attend school and are required to submit valid reasons for their non-attendance such as absent because of health reasons.

Schools are, by law, required to monitor non-attendance of learners right up until break-up day, as well as, provide for teaching and learning during the remaining period.

One of the biggest misnomers, created from complacency, is that the term ends with the end of examinations. This is completely untrue.

Some parents seem to be quite lenient when it comes to school attendance over the last week of the term, especially with our high school learners. Parents must please assist by insisting that active engagement happens at all schools. In other instances, schools may be encouraging this practice so that more time is allocated to wrapping up administrative tasks. This is also unacceptable.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has therefore requested that all schools issue communication to their parent communities, if they have not done so already, to make it clear that schools are open for “business as usual” until (the last day and this applies for every term, including the end of the year.)

We ask that parents report schools who encourage learners to stay at home. There are many educational activities that would benefit our learners and we must use every day optimally.

The official school timetable, as determined by the National Department of Basic Education, is compulsory and all public schools (teachers and learners) are legally obliged to adhere to it.

Brian Schreuder Western Cape Education Department

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