Unions question DBE’s 2023 school calendar
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Cape Town - The country’s education unions are expecting to soon get more details from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) over the proposed 2023 school calendar.
The DBE drafted two calendars that have different reopening and closing dates for inland and coastal schools.
If approved, the 2023 academic year commences on January 11 to March 24 for inland schools while coastal schools start on the 18th and close March 31.
Learners would have 199 school days while teachers would have a total of 203.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke said the calendar portrayed predictions of schools going back to normality.
“Having two types of calendars was the norm pre-Covid. We will make our submissions as the unions to the department after going through the dates.
“The unions are expecting to meet the department and get an explanation about the rational proposed dates so that we can respond properly,” he said.
Professional Educators' Union general secretary Ben Machipi said if Covid-19 cases are still high, it would not be ideal to have some learners back in school while others are left to catch up.
“While learning has been disturbed in the past we can’t be sure that the dates for the school calendar will be untouched. Science has predicted that Covid-19 might coexist with us for quite some years so it will be interesting to know the reasons we are moving back to having two calendars and reasons for school closing late in December 2023.”
However, the National Professional Teachers' Organisation SA (Naptosa) executive director Basil Manuel said: “While we are still going through the calendar, I can say that going back to having two calendars is just creating unnecessary administration. We only need one calendar, it’s just simple.”
Meanwhile the National Association of School Governing Bodies (NASGB) chief executive Matekanye Matakanye said there were a lot of lessons learnt from this and last year.
“While the government is planning for next year and upcoming years, moving forward the department must start considering the I4R approach so that education is not hampered as it has been. Many schools have experienced problems with virtual learning, while private and well resourced school did not. We must always think of ways to bridge the inequality gap”