The national Education Department is proposing a five-week long school break during the 2010 Soccer World Cup to avoid pupil and teacher absenteeism and a chaotic transport system, the Daily Dispatch Online reported on Wednesday.

A proposed school calendar for South African public schools has been gazetted and posted on the department’s website in the hope of getting comments from interested parties.

The calendar deviates from the usual three to four weeks mid-year break in June and July and will run from June 10 to July 12 2010.

It will result in pupils enjoying a longer break compared to previous years as it amounts to 33 days, including weekends and one public holiday.

Chief director responsible for national and provincial coordination Sihle Mlambo said the department had drawn up the proposal after receiving written requests from the Department of Transport and hospitality stakeholders to extend school holidays over the World Cup period.

“You can imagine if schools are open during that period. In the written requests, the department was asked to consider things like infrastructure, absenteeism and transportation issues.”

Mlambo said that, with the influx of thousands of tourists into the country impacting on the hospitality and transport industry for the major event, it would only be sensible to extend the break.

PUBLICATION: Mail &Guardian Online
DATED: 2nd April 2008