WINDHOEK – The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture has cautioned that no regional education directorate has the right to make changes to the gazetted school calendar for public schools without authorisation from the ministry’s executive director.
This follows the education ministry saying that it has observed with great concern communications issued by the Hardap regional education directorate and others indicating that the last day of school and hostels is August 2, without the approval and endorsement from the executive director.
A circular signed on July 25, 2019 by Hardap regional education acting director, Jacqueline Rukamba, stated the principals are informed that the last school day for all government schools and hostels will be Friday, August 2.
It also reads that all schools are therefore requested to adjust their examination timetables accordingly.
The circular further gave reasons that led to the decision, suggesting that a uniform arrangement was necessitated for managing the July/August examinations, which are currently underway.
The ministry of education’s executive director, Sanet Steenkamp, said the 2019 school calendar indicates that schools close on August 9, and this remains as such.
She warned that all regional education directorates that have issued such communications to schools are hereby directed to rescind same immediately and ensure that the examinations continue uninterrupted as scheduled, and no alteration of set timetables are to be affected by any school.
In terms of section 37 (1) of the Education Act, 2001 (Act No. 16 of 2001), the 2019 school calendar for public schools as detailed in the accompanying schedule stipulates that the last school day is August 9 for the second term. The gazetted school calendar shows that teachers will close for the semester on August 13.
Lessons will then again resume on the first school day for the third term on September 2 until the final day of the trimester on December 4.
“As far as deviation from the school calendar is concerned, only the Omaheke directorate of education requested and was granted permission to deviate from the calendar, however this deviation is only applicable to the hostel boarders for whom special arrangements should be made by the regional office and the respective schools, to ensure that affected learners complete their examinations as per their school schedules,” she clarified.
Equally, the Hardap education directorate circular indicates that teachers at secondary schools are experiencing a challenge to complete their marking on time because of the number of scripts to be marked and moderated.
“Therefore, teachers will use the last days to conclude the marking and moderation of scripts, finalise the schedules, reports and attend to administrative tasks, and plan and prepare for the re-opening of schools for the third trimester,” the circular reads.
It also states that the regional office is exploring alternatives to reduce catering costs at hostels.
Moreover, it reasons that principals should analyse the results in terms of pass and fail statistics, distribution of symbols per subject, and submit the analysis to the regional office on or before August 13.
Regarding the wrong communication, Steenkamp said the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture wholeheartedly apologises for any inconveniences to all shareholders that the communication might have caused, especially to learners, parents and guardians.