Schools to close on 12 December 2018
The WCED would like to clarify some of the confusion around the closure dates for the 2018 school year.
Schools in this Province, as well as all other Provinces, will officially close on the 12th of December 2018.
The ONLY schools that can close early are the small number of schools that have been selected as official NSC Marking Centres. This comprises of only 9 schools out of over 1500 in the Province.
Therefore holidays will begin on the 12th of December 2018 for learners and the 14th of December for educators - making it a 199 and 203 day school year for learners and educators respectively.
If any schools have issued letters indicating that they are closing earlier than the 12th of December 2018 then they are acting illegally. These schools were informed well in advance of the dates for the 2018 school year.
The WCED provided planning guidelines in September 2017, in order for schools to plan their timetables accordingly for 2018.
Included in this planning calendar are the Internal examination dates for schools. This provides dates as to when schools can begin their examination processes. For example, the 2018 planning calendar indicates that internal examinations for schools offering Grade 4-6 may not start their examinations before 19 November 2018. Schools can then decide when to administer their examinations after this date, taking into account the final dates of the end of the academic year.
Schools will always need some time to mark examination papers, as well as, capture term results in order for the reports cards to be released on time. However they have had ample opportunity to plan programmes of an academic or extra-mural nature for the last week of school.
There are many education activities that would benefit our learners and there is no excuse for idleness during this period.
It must be noted that while the perception out there is that school holidays have been drastically cut, is untrue.
If we compare to last year, there were 197 school days. Therefore the amount of days that both learners and educators have for school holidays - remains relatively the same. The number of school days, both in 2018 and in 2019, remain the same.
It must also be noted that of the 365 days in a calender year, learners attend school 199 days. Therefore 166 days are spent on holidays and weekends.
The school calendar is determined at a National level and was released well in advance in 2016.
It was recommended that the Calendar should be synchronised with examination processes. This was released for public comment at the time. This would entail ending the academic year in the second week of December to allow for markers to be released early from their school duties for the end of the year National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination processes.
This school timetable, as determined by the National Department of Basic Education, is compulsory and all public schools (teachers and learners) are legally obliged to adhere to it.
Schools then re-open on the 9th of January 2019 for learners, for a 199 day school year.