Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a school break. Addressing the country virtually on Thursday, President Ramaphosa said that the decision was taken after consultation with different stakeholders.

Public schools will close from 27 July to 24 August. However, Grade 7 and 12 will take shorter breaks.

President Ramaphosa’s address to the nation: 

In a statement, the Department of Education says although the sector has successfully reopened schools, the increase in the number of community infections in the country has lead to psychological and emotional stress for some. “This has spilled over into schools as schools are a microcosm of society. The impact of COVID-19 has also lead to the health facilities being overstretched and some schools taking the strain.”

The Cabinet also approved the following;

  • 4 weeks break starting on 27 July 2020-24 August for public schools.
  • School Management teams using the whole of the first week (27-31 July 2020) to wrap up work at school and returning with teachers a week earlier (17-21 August 2020) for the return of learners.
  • Grade 7 learners to return on 10 August 2020.
  • The academic year to be extended beyond 2020.
  • Arrangements for different categories of special schools should be made.
  • Establishment of the Task Team comprising of key stakeholders in the sector to deal with identified challenges.

Motshekga says the break will allow schools to prepare for the return of more grades in school later in August . The Minister has urged school communities to continue with their work during the break.

Sadtu reacts to the four week break

The move comes after extensive lobbying by civil society and teacher unions.

“This is exactly what we needed,  the four week break.  It may not have been everything that we wanted but we got what we needed and it will give us an opportunity to address all the challenges that we have been experiencing in our schools in order to make sure that the schools are safe for our learners and our teachers. We don’t always get what we want,” says the General Secretary of  Sadtu, Mugwena Malule.