South Africa considering options to save the school year – including scrapping holidays

The Department of Basic Education is considering a number of options to help salvage South Africa’s school year after the country’s lockdown was extended by a further two weeks, the Sunday Times reports.

Some of the possibilities being considered include:

  • Earlier starts to the school day;
  • Evening and weekend classes;
  • Scrapping “nonessential” parts of the curriculum in certain subjects;
  • Scrapping the June and September school holidays.

Education minister Angie Motshekga will make the final proposals to a special cabinet meeting scheduled for this week.

A committee is also looking at whether the writing of the June exams by pupils in grades 1-12 should go ahead or be postponed, said departmental spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga.

“The entire school calendar has now shifted, so anything is possible,”  he said.

“The breaks could be shortened. Teachers could teach until the afternoon and maybe learners could go home and come back and lessons could go on into the evening.”

School calendar

All of South Africa’s schools were closed on 18 March as part of social distancing measuresd before the lockdown was even announced.

Motshekga had originally said that schools should resume again on 14 April 2020 – unless determined otherwise. This meant that 10 school days would be lost as a result of the school closures.

With South Africa’s lockdown now extended until the end of April, government and has had to look at other options to save the school year.

One of these measures is the broadcasting of school lessons on the SABC. Programmes started on Thursday (9 April) and are broadcast across three SABC TV channels and 13 radio stations, with online support.

“The series will provide curriculum support lessons to learners in Grades 10, 11 and 12 and Early Childhood Development (ECD),” the Department of Basic Education said.

“Some of the subjects covered include Maths, Physical Sciences, English First Additional Language, Life Sciences and Accounting. A variety of African languages are also covered under the early childhood development basket,”  it said.

Read: 2,028 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa, as deaths rise to 25

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South Africa considering options to save the school year – including scrapping holidays