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Back-to-school: Term dates, new subjects and shorter holidays for 2024…

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About 14 peaceful sleeps are left before it’s back to school again. Not only for the kids, but also for parents embarking on the daily school, dodging potholes and minibus taxis…Here’s what to know about the 2024 school year.

The 2024 public school calendar kicks off on 17 January and concludes on 11 December, adding up to a total of 203 instructional days – four more than in 2022 and 2023.

ALSO READ: Late applications for Gauteng grades 1 and 8 now open

Here’s why school holidays will be shorter in 2024

School holidays have been shortened in 2024, with the calendar making provision for just 25 days off, compared to 32 days in 2023 and 33 in 2022.

In addition, school holidays have been structured to include most of this year’s public holidays.

Schools will only lose two days to public holidays in 2024 – one day each in term two and three respectively.

This in comparison to the eight days of school learners “lost” in 2022 and 2023.

The South African school calendar is compiled by the Department of Basic Education (DBE), in consultation with provincial education departments, school governing bodies, and other stakeholders. 

According to a BusinessTech report, the department said implementing these changes to the calendar were necessitated by the crucial need to make up for the teaching losses felt during the COVID-19 pandemic which severely hampered teaching capacity and learner hours.

ALSO READ: Hurry up and wait? Here’s when 2023 matric exam results will be released

Inland and coastal schools kick off on same date

In previous years, schools in coastal provinces started at a different time than inland schools.

This will no longer be the case as the Basic Education Department has decided that all public schools across the country now start and end their school terms on the same date.

2024 term dates for public schools

  • First Term: 17 January – 20 March
  • Second Term: 3 April – 14 June
  • Third Term: 9 July – 20 September
  • Fourth Term: 1 October – 13 December

Public holidays for 2024

  • Human Rights Day: 21 March
  • Good Friday: 29 March
  • Family Day: 1 April
  • Freedom Day: 27 April
  • Workers Day: 1 May
  • Youth Day: 16 June
  • Public Holiday: 17 June
  • National Women’s Day: 9 August
  • Heritage Day: 24 September
  • Day of Reconciliation: 16 December
  • Christmas Day: 25 December
  • Day of Goodwill: 26 December
2024 school calendar
Source: Department of Basic Education

New subjects for SA schools: Roll-out of coding and robotics

In the department’s annual performance plan for 2023/24, it states that work has begun on developing some components of the updated curricula to be rolled out on a wider scale.

According to the DBE, coding and robotics are the core focus of a host of new “next-gen” subjects being piloted in South Africa as the education departments looks to better equip learners with skills for the 21st century.

ALSO READ: The writing’s on the blackboard: Half of SA teachers fail to meet Grade 4 literacy level

The subjects were piloted during 2023 at 18 schools nationwide – two in each province.

The pilot for grades 4 to 6 and Grade 8 was implemented in 2022, followed by a Grade 9 pilot in 2023. Full-scale implementation of coding and robotics into the school curriculum for grades 4 to 6 and Grade 8 is planned for 2024, with Grade 9s set to follow suit in 2025.

The focus on coding and robotics will also work in parallel with the department’s goals to improve reading and comprehension among learners.

NOW READ: Reading crisis puts South Africa’s future in jeopardy – Amnesty International

Source: citizen.co.za

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