Private schools will be allowed to open two-weeks earlier. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA).
Private schools will be allowed to open two-weeks earlier. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA).

Independent schools will open two weeks earlier

By MaryAnne Isaac Time of article published Jan 26, 2021

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Johannesburg - The Department of Basic Education has confirmed that all public schools will officially open on February 15, with private schools allowed to reopen two weeks earlier.

This is according to a government gazette published on Friday, and comes after the Deputy Basic Education Minister Reginah Mhaule announced a delay in the reopening of schools for 2021.

“Independent schools must delay the date for the reopening of schools for learners to return to school for a period of two weeks from the date of the pronouncement of the minister, on January 15, 2021. Independent schools may not open earlier than the two-week period as contemplated [January 15],” reads the gazette.

The gazette also declares that no pupils are allowed to return before the specified dates – either at public or private schools. Officials may also access school premises during the period of closure if required to do so, for purposes of preparation in anticipation of the reopening of schools.

The updated and gazetted return dates are as follows:

January 25, 2021: The principal, the school management team including education assistants and general assistants (Basic Education Employment Initiative) and non-teaching staff must return to school;

February 1, 2021: All educators must return to school;

February 1, 2021: Private school learners may return to school;

February 15, 2021: All public school learners must return to school.

The National Alliance of Independent School Associations (NAISA), has welcomed the department’s decision in favour of private schools, saying it would save the livelihoods of many teachers and staff.

“We are very happy with this new update and the fact that the department has been sensitive to the plight of independent schools. They (department) are aware that many of our schools have been under threat of closure, and some of our teachers have been retrenched because parents don’t pay when schools are closed.”

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