Grade 12 and 7 back to school on 1 June 2020

One of the greatest impacts of Covid-19 on the 2020 school year is the change in senior exam timetables.

Grade 12 learners are set to only return to school on June 1.

They will be joined by Grade 7 learners when the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) phased-in approach to schooling kicks off for learners next month.

Today’s briefing by Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga and Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande comes after weeks of uncertainty about the 2020 school year as parents, teachers and learners anxiously awaited answers from the DBE.

Schools opened on January 15 and would have closed on December 4, but due to lockdown, the amended school calendar is as follows:

“The school calendar will be gazetted once the administrative work has been completed,” said Motshekga.

“In recent weeks we have worked with provinces to prepare for the reopening of schools.”

She said each province, district, circuit and school, must have a practical and comprehensive catch-up plan in place to be implemented.

Plans must accommodate the risk profiles of the areas where schools are located and they must be based on the infection rate of the different areas.

“The decisions that were taken are based on scientific considerations and we were advised to adopt the phased-in approach for the reopening of schools,” she said.

A special dispensation will also be put in place for learners who experience barriers to learning, taking into account the severity of the barrier.

Curriculum recovery plan:

The DBE’s recovery plan for the curriculum is guided by a targeted approach, taking cognisance of the needs of schools, phases and grades.

Recovery plans were determined in a flexible way and were guided by the size and scope of the crisis, a short or long lockdown and the implications these will have on teaching and learning.

Time management will be of the essence with a focus on skills, knowledge and value.

The recovery plan was also guided by the need to ensure inclusion and equity for all learners, especially those most vulnerable, to ensure these learners have access to planned progammes.


One of the greatest impacts of Covid-19 on the 2020 school year is the change in senior exam timetables

The May/June exams for the National Senior Certificate will be combined with the October/November exams and rescheduled for November/December.

“Due to the lockdown, we have not been able to complete our preparations, which include the printing and distribution of question papers, the appointment of invigilators, markers, and the general readiness in marking centres,” said Motshekga.

The exams will be merged with the November exams which will see more than 1.1 million candidates sit down for the end-of-year exams.

“A new timetable for the merged examinations will be communicated urgently, as part of preparing the system for the biggest matric examination ever seen in the country.

“We estimate that 1.1 million candidates will sit for the end-of-year matric examinations in this merged format, which includes the Amended Senior Certificate and National Senior Certificate.”

What can Grade 12 and 7 learners expect when they go back to school:

All learners and teachers must wear cloth masks and direct contact must be avoided.

Al learners, teachers and support staff will receive orientation and training when schools reopen commencing with Grade 7 and 12.

The purpose of the programme is to allow learners, teachers and non-teaching staff the chance to adjust to and familarise themselves with the special arrangements at schools following the outbreak of Covid-19.