Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has published the updated 2021 calendar for South African public schools.
In a media briefing on Thursday, Motshekga said that schools will reopen later than planned in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with teachers set to return on 25 January and pupils set to return on 27 January.
“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,” said Motshekga.
“We will need to carry over some of the curriculum work into 2021 and we have done our best to accommodate the interests of everybody. But our priority, is the learner.”
Below is the updated calendar as gazetted on Friday (2 October):
The later start to the year is partly due to the later matric examinations which were rescheduled to accommodate the disruptions caused by the pandemic, said Motshekga.
“As we had already announced before, the June Senior Certificate examination was postponed, and will now be written together with the National Senior Certificate examination in November 2020,” she said.
“The examination timetable for the combined June and November examination had to be amended; so that this examination commences in November, instead of October 2020, as was initially planned.”
Motshekga said that the late start of the examination is intended to allow as much time as possible to cover critical curriculum content, and to ensure that all examination processes are appropriately managed.
“The combined examination makes this the largest public examination that has been administered in our country,” she said.
“More than 1 million (1,058,699) candidates, will sit for the examinations; and we certainly have never had to manage a number that large before. It is going to be a huge task, but one that we will need to ensure it is managed and coordinated smoothly.”
The writing of the 2020 NSC examination, will commence on 5 November 2020, and conclude on the 15 December 2020.