Academic year to be extended to 2021
Due to immense pressure from teacher unions, the government has decided to close schools for the next four weeks.
The decision to close schools will result in extending the school year to 2021.
Ramaphosa announces extended academic year
On Thursday, the President of South Africa addressed the nation. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that schools will close for a 4 week period. The decision to close schools was motivated by the rising amount of COVID-19 infections. Ramaphosa also mentioned that it was not easy to reach this decision, as there were many views to consider.
The academic year will be extended into 2021. Ramaphosa said that more details will be provided by the Minister of Basic Education. The national school nutrition programme feeds about 9 million children every day. Ramaphosa said that the national school nutrition programme will continue while schools are closed.
Parents or school children are allowed to fetch food from schools. Universities, colleges and TVET colleges are also expected to extend the academic year. Teacher unions have proposed that the DBE should engage with higher education institutions to consider late registration for first years.
Public schools close for 4 weeks
South African public schools will close from July 27 until 24 August 2020. Ramaphosa said it is important for schools not to become hotspot sites for the virus.
Grade 12 and 7 learners will have an exception. Grade 12 learners return to schools on August 3. Grade 7 learners will close for 2 weeks and reopen on August 10.
See the new school calendar here.
Schools closing a victory or a disaster?
While many might be relieved about the decision to close schools. Parents have expressed a few concerns. According to Parent24 news, parents have pointed that closing public schools only is an act of discrimination.
Parents have also expressed concerns about whether Daycare and Crèche will remain open.
The court had recently given permission for Daycare centres to operate. Parents are now faced with the difficulty of finding caretakers to look after their children whilst they go to work.
Author: Omega Fumba
Date Published: 3 August 2020