Public and private school holidays and school calendar 2021

Public and private school holidays and school calendar 2021

Every year, the Department of Basic Education shares an updated academic calendar to keep students abreast of when a session starts and ends and when their holidays are likely to fall into, among other things. For 2021, not only do you need to know the updated calendar, but you should also know when the public and private school holidays will fall on.

private school holidays
Students with their teacher in a class. Photo:, @webersd
Source: Facebook

In South Africa, government-owned schools and privately-owned schools operate a slightly different academic calendar. In most cases, the academic calendar of public schools is usually subdivided into four terms per academic year. In contrast, private schools use either a three or four-term division per academic year.

School calendar 2021

Before the pandemic, schools were scheduled to open on the 13th of January, 2021, but there was a need to revise the academic calendar because of the coronavirus. In fact, as of the 15th of January, 2021, the reopening of public and private schools was delayed by two weeks. Analysing the effect of the pandemic on the country's education system and proactive efforts made, the Department of Education’s director-general Mathanzima Mweli said:

Read also

Exciting facts: The most expensive schools in the world

We have narrowed the curriculum as part of a process known as ‘trimming’ which means that these students were not exposed to the full curriculum. However in matric, they will be examined on the full contents of Grades 10, 11 and 12. The further delay of teaching this year places a huge burden on the system as we now not only have to catch up on Grade 12 content but also on the Grade 11 content which was lost last year.

Based on the updated calendar, the School Management Teams (SMTs) were expected to report for duty on Monday, 25th of January, 2021. Teachers were to resume on Monday, 1st of February, 2021, and learners were to return on Monday, 15th of February, 2021. According to the newly revised calendar, the school terms 2021 calendar is supposed to follow the format below:

private school holidays
Academic calendar. Photo: (modified by the author)
Source: Original

Public and private school holidays 2021 South Africa

Read also

Brackenfell High School: Facts about its history and alleged racism

While public schools usually follow a four-term academic calendar, there is no general academic term calendar mandated for use among private schools in South Africa. Some of these schools may follow the government-owned schools' calendar, and others may decide to follow their custom-made calendar that will incorporate their curricular activities. Below is a breakdown of school holidays 2021 in the country.

Independent schools South Africa holiday calendar

Private learning institutions have had different schedules from public ones. Depending on the administrations, the programmes of independent learning institutions vary. For the schools operating a four-term calendar, once they open for the first term, their break is expected to run from Friday, 26th of March to Wednesday, 14th of April, 2021.

Term 2 holiday is expected to run from Friday, 25th of June, to Tuesday, 20th of July, 2021, and Term 3 holiday from Thursday, 23rd of September to Tuesday, 12th of October, 2021. Then, the Term 4 holiday is expected to commence on Wednesday, 1st of December, 2021.

Read also

Crucial details about South African Schools Act you did not know about

For those on a 3 Term calendar, once the Term 1 holiday starts on Wednesday, 14th of April, it is expected to end by Tuesday, 4th of May, 2021, while the Term 2 holiday is expected to run from Friday, 6th of August to Tuesday, 7th of September, 2021. Then, the Term 3 holiday is expected to start on Friday, 3rd of December, 2021.

Public school holiday calendar 2021

Public schools that operate a four-term calendar are expected to start their first term holiday by Monday, 26th of April, and end by Monday, 3rd of May, 2021. Term 2 holiday is expected to commence on Monday, 12th of July and to end on Monday, 26th of July, 2021.

While the Term 3 holiday will start on Monday, 4th of October and end by Monday, 11th of the same month, the Term 4 holiday will start by Wednesday, 15th of December, 2021.

Read also

Sedibeng College online application, forms, courses, fees, contact details, requirements 2021

private school holidays
Students studying. Photo:
Source: UGC

South African national holidays 2021

It should be noted that both public and private school holidays give children a much-needed break from studies. Celebrating public holidays also instils a sense of patriotism, and so, the following dates have been set aside for students to celebrate away from school:

  • 1st of January: New Year’s Day
  • 21st of March: Human Rights Day
  • 22nd of March: Public Holiday
  • 2nd of April: Good Friday
  • 5th of April: Family Day
  • 26th of April: School Holiday
  • 27th of April: Freedom Day
  • 1st of May: Workers’ Day
  • 16th of June: Youth Day
  • 9th of August: National Women’s Day
  • 24th of September: Heritage Day
  • 16th of December: Day of Reconciliation
  • 25th of December: Christmas Day
  • 26th of December: Day of Goodwill
  • 27th of December: Public holiday

Parents find the shared public and private school holidays helpful to plan spending time with their children. Most students also seize holiday opportunities to have some fun with their families and loved ones and visit interesting places.

Read also

Top 10 international schools that offer IGCSE

READ ALSO: Education in South Africa: Complete guide for parents who want to make an informed decision

Education is essential for children from a young age, as it helps them become outstanding people in society. A recent post published by discussed all you need to know about the South African education system.

As you will discover, there are schools funded by the provincial administration department and the privately/independently-owned ones. The interesting facts you need to know to make an informed decision are discussed in the post.


Online view pixel