Today is the first day of the 2021 school year. Despite many bumps in the road, the reopening has gone smoothly in most provinces.
Teachers were back on duty at public schools since 1 February. Last month, the Basic Education Department announced a delay in the school calendar, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
We are witnessing the full scale start of the academic programme today. The rotational timetable for attendance remains as a safety protocol.
The break down of the school year is as follows:
- Term One 15 February to 23 April
- Term Two 3 May to 9 July
- Term Three 26 July to 1 October
- Term Four 11 October to 15 December
Teachers and learners are encouraged to work hard to make up for the time lost and to fill the gaps in the curriculum which came as a result of the effects of the pandemic last year.
Despite many concerns raised surrounding the opening of schools, the department has assured that all measures have been put in place to ensure that the spread of Covid-19 in schools are addressed and teachers and learners are kept safe.
The Department's School Nutrition Programme is also said to be ready to feed learners.
Issues however still remain. In the Eastern Cape, both a class and teacher shortage is being seen. There are also a number of students in Gauteng who haven't been placed in schools yet.
On Sunday, Director General of the department, Mathanzima Mweli said that the backlog of placements has been drastically reduced, however there are still learners who are currently awaiting placement at schools across the country.
Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, said on Sunday during a briefing that the health and safety of teachers and students is the top priority of the department.
The Basic Education Minister and Deputy Minister are also visiting schools in the country as this school year begins.