The Department of Basic Education has released the new school calendar for the 2021 academic year, with schools expected to reopen on 25 January 2021.
Following months of academic disruptions due to lockdown and the pandemic, basic education Minister Angie Motshekga said the new school calendar took into account the effects of the pandemic.
During a media briefing in Pretoria on Thursday, she said schools would have to carry over some of the curriculum work into the new year.
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“We are fully aware that the country needs the school calendar for effective planning purposes, and we have worked hard to ensure it is done properly, taking into account the disruptions that have occurred in 2020.”
“We have done our best to accommodate the interests of everybody, but our priority is the learner,” said the Minister.
According to the new calendar, teachers would return to school on 25 January, while learners return on 27 January.
The first term is expected to end on 31 March. Second term will commence from 13 April to 25 June, third term from 13 July to 23 September and the fourth term would be between 5 October and 8 December, while teachers would close two days later on 10 December 2021.
Motshekga was however concerned at the impact the loss of school days on early grades had on long-term learning, and the potential increase of inequality in learning outcomes.
“All teachers know that catching up lost learning, or learning recovery, is not an easy, quick activity but requires a lot of dedicated time.
“This will include a concerted effort by both parents and teachers and will need to extend into the 2021 academic year. To allow for this, we have revised the annual teaching plans to extend to next year,” said Motshekga.