Pretoria - The Department of Basic Education has clarified that although the June school holidays have been extended by seven days to accommodate the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the school year has not been shortened in any way.
Speaking to BuaNews on the department's plan for 2010, education spokesperson Dr Granville Whittle said: "The June holiday has been extended to allow those in the education system especially our learners and teachers to enjoy the first ever soccer world cup on African soil.
"According to national policy, a school year must have between 195 and 200 school days and 2010 will have 195 school days."
He said the department was working closely with a range of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including United Nations Children's Fund to develop a range of programmes to be offered at schools during the period of the tournament to engage learners and keep them off the streets.
"Our high schools will continue to offer winter schools like they normally do during the winter holidays."
Meanwhile, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is to meet with all provincial education MECs on 28 January to discuss the interventions that will be implemented in under-performing schools to ensure an increase in the schools' matric pass rate.
Motshekga is expected to announce the interventions one of which, said Whittle, is the removal of principals of underperforming schools - a process which has already started in some provinces.
Whittle, however, noted that while the department was concerned about under-performing schools, most of them were very small with often only one learner.
"If the learner passes, the school has a 100 percent pass rate, if he or she fails, the school has a zero percent (rate)," he said.
Eighteen schools, half of them in Limpopo, got a zero percent matric pass rate, while other schools were from KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, North West and Gauteng.