The Department of Basic Education has gazetted the proposed school calendar for the 2023 academic year for comment and confirmed the school calendar for the 2022 school year.
After two years of Covid-19 lockdowns which significantly impacted teaching time, both the 2022 and the 2023 calendar will see a return to some normality with the return of ‘staggered’ open dates for both inland and coastal provinces.
This staggered date has historically accommodated people who were travelling from holidays – another part of South African life that has been significantly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The rest of 2021
Schools re-opened for the third term of 2021 on Monday, 26 July.
- Term 3: Runs from 26 July to 1 October 2021
- Term 4: Runs from 11 October to 15 December 2021
In 2022, inland schools will open from 12 January, while coastal schools are set to open from 19 January. The closing date for both inland and coastal schools is 14 December.
This equates to 199 actual school days for students.
Inland cluster 2022 school calendar
Coastal cluster school calendar 2022
The proposed calendar for 2023 will see inland schools open from January, while coastal schools are set to open from 19 January. The proposed closing date for both inland and coastal schools is December.
As with the 2022 calendar, this equates to 199 actual school days for students.
Inland cluster 2023 school calendar (proposed)
Coastal cluster 2023 school calendar (proposed)
Return of schools
Government schools reopened for the first time in nearly a month on Monday (26 July) to begin their third term of learning.
The four-week break was enforced by the country’s move to an adjusted level 4 lockdown, with the winter holidays moved forward to accommodate some of the lost teaching time.
While all government school students are expected to return in some capacity from 26 July, a timetable change will also see primary school learners (Grades R – 7) return to school from 2 August for the first time in more than a year.
Since South Africa first introduced Covid-19 lockdown restrictions at the end of March 2020, most students are learning in a ‘shift system’ – with a large amount of coursework still expected to be done at home to encourage social distancing.
Between March 2020 and June 2021, most primary school learners in South Africa have lost 70%-100% (i.e. a full year) of learning relative to the 2019 cohort, data from the latest National Income Dynamics Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) shows.
In total, 93 days of schooling have occurred between 15 February 2021 and 30 June 2021, the researchers said.
Assuming contact learning for 50% of this time, best estimates suggest that most primary school children have lost between 70% to a full year of learning since March 2020.
“To put this in perspective, this is the same as saying that the average Grade 3 child in June 2021 would have the same learning outcomes as the average Grade 2 child in June 2019.
“However, the international evidence points towards additional effects of ‘forgetting’ or regression that could hinder current learning, particularly if teaching occurs as if the content of the previous year’s curriculum has been mastered, let alone learnt.”
Therefore, cumulative losses could exceed a full year of learning as students move through the school system, the researchers said.