South African School Holidays and Terms Calendar 2021

Parents in South Africa and all around the world are worrying about the disruption of the school calendar, and the impact it will have on their children’s education. The South African Government has announced specific changes to the school calendar to enable parents to prepare their children for school, and get their education back on track.

South Africa’s Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, in a media briefing recently said: “We are fully aware that the country needs the school calendar for effective planning purposes.” She further went on to talk about the school calendar, saying “we have worked hard to ensure it is done properly; taking into account the disruptions that have occurred in 2020.” If you have children in school then you want to be reading this.

We now present below, the South African school calendar 2021.

South African School Holidays and Terms Calendar 2021

School Management Teams (SMTs) shall report for duty on Monday, 25 January 2021;

Teachers shall follow on Monday, 01 February 2021; and

Lastly, Students (learners) return on Monday, 15 February 2021.

That means the resumption date for 2021 for schools in South Africa is Monday,15 February 2021. Below you will find a table containing a breakdown of the terms, duration, as well as how many days of active learning, and days of holidays are expected. 

 Term  Duration   No. Of Weeks  No. Of Days  No. Public Holidays  No. Of School
 1  (15) 17Feb – 31Mar  10  46(48)  1  45(47)
 2  13Apr – 25 Jun  11  54  2+1  51
 3  13Jul – 23Sept  11  53  1  52
 4  5Oct – 08(10) Dec  10  47(49)  0  47(49)
 Total  42  200(24)  4+1  195 (199)

As you have seen above there is expected to be 195 school days in the year 2021.  Below, you will find a list of the public holidays, some of which will affect school activities. These public and school holidays are mostly recognized internationally, while a few are creations of the South African government, to honor special and important events in the local society. 

The South African Public and School Holidays 2021 are arranged in order of appearance below:

South African Public and School Holidays 2021

1st of January 2021: New Year’s Day

21st of March 2021: Human Rights Day

22nd of March 2021: Public Holiday

02nd of April 2021: Good Friday

05th of April 2021: Family Day

27th of April 2021: Freedom Day

26th of April 2021: School Holiday

1st of May 2021: Workers’ Day

16th of June 2021: Youth Day

9th of August 2021: National Women’s Day

24th of September 2021: Heritage Day

16th of December 2021: Day of Reconciliation

25th of December 2021: Christmas Day

26th of December 2021: Day of Goodwill (Boxing Day)

27th of December 2021: Public holiday


As the world continues to grapple with the ongoing pandemic there has been a significant impact on all aspects, including the education system. As result, schools were shut, and never really reopened fully. In the year 2021, the reopening of both public and private schools has been delayed for an additional two weeks. Even though some schools (especially private schools) have already reopened, the new announcement states that they will need to postpone their reopening to February 15th

Strict Covid 19 Protocols must be followed at all times; these may include wearing masks, frequent washing of hands, and social distancing. You are encouraged to provide the necessary items required to enable your children to safely and conveniently attend school during the year.

Despite what progress has been made so far in containing the virus, and abating the pandemic, we fear that there are many scenarios that could possibly occur, and which could disrupt the planned academic activities. It is therefore quite possible that cancellations of school days or even entire terms can happen. If such happens, they will be announced by the government on the media. 


It is important to keep abreast of the happenings in the country, particularly as it affects the pandemic and the government’s efforts in containing it. Additional protocols will be announced at schools, it is important to encourage your children to follow them to the letter. Furthermore, if you notice your children exhibiting any symptoms similar to the virus, it is important to keep them away from school, isolated at home, and to contact the relevant authorities for information on what to do. 

We wish you a safe school year.

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