The final leg of the countdown to the final matric exams has begun, as over 700 000 full time candidates prepare to write. 

During the media briefing on the developments in the Basic Education sector, Minister Angie Motshekga gave an update on the department's progress concerning school infrastructure.

Grade 12 learners were the first to return to school this week, as the government rolled out the first phase of its plan to reopen schools. More grades are expected to be phased in throughout August, but some local paediatricians want the government to speed up the process. 

Many schools have lost teaching time because of covid-19. The basic education department is now trying to make the most of what's left of the academic year, but this will come at a cost for future grades. 

The education sector is trying to make up for the gap left by teachers with comorbidities. In July, more than 3500 teachers above 60 in Gauteng alone did not report to work because they felt unable to teach. 

Staffing and spacing is the biggest challenge that public schools will face when all learners return to school on 24 August. The department is working on a plan to make sure that students are able to social distance in class. 

Grade 12 learners and teachers are back at school, following a one week break. These learners are part of the first grade to be phased in after the break and the spotlight is now on them, as the end of the school year continues to draw close. 

School governing bodies say the president's speech is not the law. Now communities are torn about whether to close public schools or keep them open

The South African Human Rights Commission has spoken out against the government's decision to close schools for some grades.

The Basic Education sector has received criticism from opposition parties. This comes after Minister Motshekga announced a budget cut.

Minister Motshekga has announced that the Basic Education budget has been cut by billions. This is in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Naptosa and other education unions met with Minister Motshekga over the weekend to discuss the possible closure of schools. The organisation has now released details of how it wants the government to handle the closure schools.

The Department of Basic Education has spoken out following fake claims posted on social media. It has also come to the defence of Minister Motshekga who has come under fire since announcing the reopening of schools. 

The Gauteng Command Council has given an update about the progress that schools have been making in the province. This includes updates on school attendance and Covid-19 cases that have been recorded on school premises.

The Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS) has decided to take a stance on the return of learners. This follows the multiple requests that unions have been making for schools to close.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has spoken out in support of the Department of Basic Education's decision to continue with the school year.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has suggested that schools should close until a later period. 

The Basic Education Department has responded to an open letter calling for the school year to end. The open letter was written by Professor Jonathan Jansen. 

Equal Education conducted a survey asking learners how they felt about being back at school. The survey also shows how learners feel about the conditions in their schools. 

 A number of parents and teachers in Cape Town staged a picket to express their unhappiness with the government's decision to continue with the school year.