The South African Department of Basic Education has recently released the confirmed and proposed school calendars for the years 2025 and 2026, showcasing a significant shift in the start dates of schools across the country. Traditionally, public schools in South Africa have followed a staggered opening schedule, with inland schools starting classes earlier than their coastal counterparts. However, starting from 2024, the department plans to have schools in both regions start and end at the same time.
The confirmed school calendar for 2025 states that all schools will commence on January 15th and conclude on December 10th, 2025. The year will consist of 199 school days, 27 school holidays, and ten public and special holidays during school terms. The four terms for the year are:
term 1 – January 15th to March 28th,
term 2 – April 8th to June 27th,
term 3 – July 22nd to October 3rd,
term 4 – October 13th to December 12th.
The proposed school calendar for 2026, which is open for public comments, outlines a start date of January 14th and an end date of December 9th, 2026. The calendar provides for 200 school days, 27 school holidays, and seven public and special holidays during school terms. The four proposed terms for the year are: term 1 – January 14th to March 27th, term 2 – April 8th to June 26th, term 3 – July 21st to October 2nd, and term 4 – October 13th to December 9th.
All interested individuals and organizations are invited to provide their comments on the proposed 2026 school calendar in writing and send it to the Director-General for the Department of Basic Education, for the attention of Mr. S Mlambo, with a copy to Manaka.L@dbe.gov.za.
In recent years, the school calendars have shifted towards slightly shorter school holidays, and this trend will continue in the upcoming years. The public school calendar for 2024 starts on January 17th and ends on December 11th, providing 203 school days – four more than in the previous two years. The number of school holidays has also been reduced to 25 days, compared to 32 days in 2023 and 33 days in 2022. The calendar is structured in such a way that the school terms are not impacted by as many public holidays.