Durban – The Basic Education Department has announced that Grade 12 pupils will only get their final results at the end of February next year following the disruption of the 2020 academic year due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
The new plan to complete the school academic calendar was released by the department. The amended calendar shows that for the Grade 12 pupils, the 2020 National Senior Certificate November examinations will conclude on December 15, rather than December 18. It proposed that the examinations commence on November 5.
The marking of scripts, which was normally done before Christmas, would take place in the new year from January 4 to 22.
The standardisation by Umalusi will occur in early February, with the ministerial announcement taking place on February 22. The results in provinces will be out on February 23.
The department proposed that the school year for Grade Rs to Grade 11s be completed on December 15, and not be carried over to the first quarter of 2021.
It also said for these grades, teaching, learning and the assessments should be completed by December 15. It said the new academic year will commence on January 18 for teachers and January 20 for pupils.
“There will be a one week break on October 26-30 to separate the third quarter and the fourth quarter.
“The proposed 2020 amended calendar leaves learners with about 156 days and teachers with 163 days,” it said.
Professor Labby Ramrathan, director of the School of Education Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said the reality of the situation was that only a third of the curriculum had been covered since March.
“It seems these amendments are made just for the appeasement of someone,” he said.
He said the discussion should be focusing on what the pupils should learn and the methods of teaching to make sure that the remaining three months of the year were used effectively.
Allen Thompson, president of the National Teachers Union, said they were concerned about the new calendar and will need the department to explain the importance of completing everything this year.
“There is no way the curriculum can be completed this year unless the teachers have to work even longer hours, which is impossible as they are already overstretched.
“We will be engaging with the department on Tuesday.
“There is a possibility that after that meeting we might withdraw our members and encourage parents to withdraw learners, we feel that in the time the schools have been closed, the department has done nothing to address our concerns,” he said.
Provincial education department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said everything was in place to safely welcome back pupils today.
“It’s not like we were taken by surprise as to when the pupils were coming back and everything is in place.
“We have been getting reports from all our districts and there have been no challenges of PPE that have been reported,” he said.
However, he said water was still a problem, especially the theft of water equipment that had been installed recently.
“We plead with the community not to buy things like Jojo tanks that have been stolen from schools, these are important things that are meant to save the lives of the pupils.
“We have been working extra hard to provide Grade 12 learners with work, even during the national lockdown, and we are going to continue to do so to ensure that pupils have a fighting chance.”