Earlier today Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, held a media briefing to discuss some of the elements that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has decided on during alert level 1 lockdown. The most important announcement made by the minister, though, was in respect of the 2021 school year, which is confirmed to start on 25th January.
“First, let me confirm that schools will reopen on 25 January 2021; second, the school calendar will be gazetted tomorrow, Friday, 2 October, after which it will be publicly available,” the minister explained during the briefing.
With the gazetted regulations expected tomorrow, it remains to be seen what measures will need to be in place when the 2021 school year begins, but at least embattled educators and institutions now have a better idea of when the next academic calendar kicks off.
“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,” added Motshekga.
Given how the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown has severely impacted the 2020 curriculum, the minister also noted that some parts of this year, will beed to be carried over into 2021 where necessary.
While it is yet to be determined what impact this will have on the quality of education that learners have received in 2020, and indeed what their end of year results will yield, Motshekga also pointed out that more needs to be done to assist educators.
“All teachers know that catching up lost learning, or learning recovery, is not an easy, quick activity but requires a lot of dedicated time,” she noted.
“This will include a concerted effort by both parents and teachers and will need to extend into the 2021 academic year. To allow for this, we have revised the annual teaching plans to extend to next year,” the minister concluded.
Whether these measures will prove sufficient, is difficult to determine at this stage.