Ramaphosa: 2020 academic year to be extended as public schools go on break


61 days ago

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday evening announced that public schools would take a break from Monday to 24 August.

But those in grade 12 will only stay at home for a week, while grade 7 pupils are expected back in the classroom in a fortnight.

Ramaphosa said that the decision was reached after consultations with more than 60 role-players.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) said that leaving out the private schools only perpetuated inequality with the education system.

After weeks of calls by teacher unions and threats of legal action by civil society, Ramaphosa said that Cabinet had decided on a school break, albeit a short break.

The president said that it was difficult to find consensus on the best approach, but everyone agreed that both the health and academic development of pupils was important.

“Taking into account the views of the various stakeholders and expert bodies, Cabinet has decided that all public schools should take a break for the next four weeks. This means that schools will be closed from 27 July and will re-open on 24 August,” Ramaphosa said.

“There are, however, some exceptions. Grade 12 learners and teachers will only take a one-week break, returning to school on 3 August. Grade 7 learners will take a two-week break, returning to school on 10 August,” he added.

Ramaphosa said that as a result of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, the current academic year would be extended beyond the end of 2020.

WATCH: Schools must not become sites of COVID-19 transmission - Ramaphosa

Sadtu secretary-general Mugwena Maluleke said that the focus on public schools only was a concern and a perpetuation of inequality.

“We are disappointed because it would mean we have two systems. We don’t have a minister for private and public. It’s unfortunate that we are in a country of inequality,” Maluleke said.

Ramaphosa said that school nutrition programs would continue.

“Throughout this period, the National School Nutrition Programme will continue to operate so that all learners or their parents can collect food directly from schools,” he said.

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This article first appeared on EWN : Ramaphosa: 2020 academic year to be extended as public schools go on break

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