File picture: Independent Media

Durban - Teachers are up in arms over the announcement of a shorter December holiday this year. The National Professional Teacher's Organisation of South Africa's Thirona Moodley, said they were receiving comments from teachers who were unhappy with the news. 

According to Department of Basic Education Director General, Mathanzima Hubert Mweli, it is only the 2018 summer holiday calendar that will be affected.

Schools will close on December 12, 2018 and reopen on January 9, 2019 for pupils while the last day for teachers will be December 14 and they are expected back on January 7.

Mweli said this in effect means that for the 2018 summer holidays, pupils will have 16 days excluding public holidays and teachers, just 12.

“This only affected the 2018 calendar and is not indicative of how subsequent calendars will be structured. The reason for the short summer holiday is that the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) took a decision to close schools in the first week of December with effect from 2019. This decision was taken to ensure that the end of the year National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations marking processes do not negatively impact on learning and teaching time,” he said.

This announcement comes after the DBE said they would be scrapping Grade 12 supplementary exams. This will take place from 2019. The department's Elijah Mhlanga said the decision was taken after it was noted that all those pupils who qualified to write supp exams, not not register while of those who did, more than half did not write their exams.

This, Mhlanga said, has resulted in a massive financial loss for the department.

The Mercury