President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that all public schools will “take a break” for the next four weeks.
This will run from 27 July until 24 August. However, Grade 12 pupils and teachers will only take a week-long break and will return on 1 August. Grade 7s will take a two week break, returning on August 10.
The current academic year will be extended beyond 2020, Ramaphosa said, the details of which will be communicated in due course.
He has also said that the government is taking major steps to stamp out acts of corruption related to Covid-19 relief funds and initiatives. Ramaphosa today signed a proclamation for the Special Investigating Unit to investigate any allegation of corruption across all spheres of the state.
School nutrition programmes will continue and parents or pupils will be able to collect meals from schools.
Ramaphosa said the interruption of teaching and learning could harm a generation of pupils. He said the government has had to weigh this up with potential health risks associated with schools reopening.
“There have been calls for schools to close again,” he said, saying that the government has met with more than 60 organisations which are stakeholders in the education sector.
“These consultations have provided important insights… and provided a broad range of important views,” he said, saying it was difficult to find a consensus on how to go about schools reopening.
He said teaching and learning has been continuing under difficult conditions during the lockdown.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa said the government has secured funding from multilateral banks and other sources.
About R15 billion of the previously-announced R500 billion package would have been paid out by the end of this month as social relief. So far, R2.2 billion has been paid to people who are unemployed and receive no other relief. More than R70 billion of tax relief has been extended to businesses, Ramaphosa said.