Government looking at changing school holidays

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The department of basic education has called for public comments on possible amendments being made to South Africa’s public school holidays in 2019.

In a notice asking for public comments published on Thursday (19 April), the department said that in recent years, various stakeholders and the general public have made certain recommendations which have made it necessary to amend the policy that was published in 2000.

Speaking to BusinessTech, department spokesperson Troy Martens said that the major consideration behind the change was aligning certain holidays to accommodate for extra marking time.

Notably this could see the school year start earlier in January 2019 (relative to previous years), while the December 2019 holidays are also expected to be slightly affected – as teachers are pulled to assist with matric exam marking.

However, the department clarified that this would only apply to this single year and was still only a proposal – with more details on any changes expected to be published at a later date.

Current school year

Currently government provides that the calendar must provide for approximately 200 school days a year, as this is the optimum number of days for the completion of the education programme. In addition the number of school days must be the same in all provinces.

School terms must consist of no more than 60 and no fewer than 43 school days, while the length of terms may vary.

The current duration of school holidays is as follows:

Holiday at end of first term (usually, in April; also referred to as the “Easter Holidays”)

  • Coastal provinces: one week
  • Inland provinces: two weeks

Holiday at end of second term (June—July)

  • Coastal provinces: three weeks
  • Inland provinces: three weeks

Holiday at end of third term (usually, in October)

  • Coastal provinces: one week
  • Inland provinces: one week

Holiday at end of fourth term (December—January)

  • Coastal provinces: five weeks
  • Inland provinces: four weeks

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