Schools could close on 15 December, matric results to be released in February, leaked proposal shows

Pupils at Rosendaal Senior Secondary in Delft, Cape Town, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pupils at Rosendaal Senior Secondary in Delft, Cape Town, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Roger Sedres, Gallo Images via Getty Images
  • Schools are on a break from 27 July to 24 August.
  • While the basic education department is yet to gazette an updated school calendar, a leaked document has shown the Heads of Education Departments Committee has proposed the year should end on 15 December. 
  • They also propose another break will be necessary in October.

The new school calendar may see the academic year ending by 15 December, a leaked document from a Heads of Education Departments Committee (Hedcom) workshop has shown.

The document, dated 28 July, recommends the year should be completed by 15 December for grades R to 11 and it should not be carried over to the first quarter of 2021.

It also recommends the Grade 12 National Senior Certificate examinations be completed by 15 December and marked in January.

The document also proposes a further break would be necessary to separate the third and fourth terms, with the suggestion being a week from 26 to 30 October.

"The proposed amended 2020 school calendar has 163 actual days for educators and 156 for learners. The teaching, learning and assessments for the 2020 academic year must be concluded by 15 December 2020 for grades R to 11.

"The new academic year commences for teachers on 18 January 2021 and for learners on 20 January 2021," the document, which News24 has seen, shows.

Public schools in the country are currently on a four week-long break, which was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last Thursday.

Grade 12 pupils, however, were only given a week off and are expected back on 3 August, while those in Grade 7 will return to classrooms on 10 August. 

READ | School reopening: SGB body, unions call for new directions to be gazetted as confusion reigns

Hedom said the current four-week break should be used to attend to all outstanding matters to ensure the readiness of schools. It also suggested this time should be used to look into concerns raised by various stakeholders. 

The break was decided by the Cabinet following concerns of a spike in Covid-19 infections. 

Schools are expected to see all grades back at school by 24 August.

According to the proposal, school-based assessments for pupils in grades R to 11 should be concluded by 15 December, the date which progression reports should be issued. No starting date is indicated.

The presentation also proposed Grade 12 pupils should commence their examinations on 5 November in order to finish on 15 December. 

This will see marking taking place between 4 and 22 January and the official release of results on 22 February 2021. 

"With the reopening of schools for teachers scheduled for 18 January 2021, from 18 to 22 January 2021, teachers appointed as markers may still be at marking centres.

"Some of the smaller enrolment subjects may conclude marking prior to 22 January 2021.

"Having teachers withdrawn from school during the marking, has occurred in previous years, although not desirable. Alternatively, the commencement of the new academic year can be postponed by a week to 25 January 2021".

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is yet to gazette an official amendment of the calendar.   

The department has yet to comment.

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