The Department of Basic Education has gazetted the 2023 school calendar for inland and coastal students.
After two years of Covid-19 lockdowns which significantly impacted teaching time, 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.
In 2023, inland schools will open from 11 January, while coastal schools are set to open from 18 January. The closing date for both inland and coastal schools is 13 December.
This equates to 199 actual school days for students and 203 school days for teachers who are expected to arrive slightly earlier and leave slightly later than their pupils.
Inland cluster 2023 school calendar
The inland cluster includes the Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West provinces.
Coastal cluster 2023 school calendar
The coastal cluster includes the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Nata, Northern Cape and Western Cape provinces.
Since its outbreak two years ago, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted education systems globally, affecting the most vulnerable learners the hardest, the department said in its annual performance plan tabled this week.
“Enrolment in the first quarter of 2021 was around 50,000 (0.4%) lower than expected. The problem concentrated in lower grades. 54% of contact time was lost in 2020 due to closures and rotations. In the second half of 2021, 22% of contact time lost due to rotations and regular absenteeism.”
However, these averages hide huge inequalities across grades and schools, it said.
“In historically disadvantaged schools, around 70% of a year’s worth of learning was lost in 2020. For every day of schooling lost, around 1.3 days of learning are lost.
“The heavy lifting in ensuring the success of the development program to improve the situation of the youngest children in our communities which will focus on better decisions, improved systems, improved capacity, effectiveness and performance so as to improve their learning outcomes.”