School holidays (also referred to as vacations, breaks, and recess) are the periods during which schools are closed or no classes are held. The dates and periods of school holidays vary considerably throughout the world, and there is usually some variation even within the same jurisdiction. Governments often legislate on the total number of school days for state schools.
In South Africa, the main holiday usually lasts from early December to early or mid-January (4 or 6 weeks). There is an autumn break of up to 2-week in late March or early April, a longer winter break in late June and early July, and a spring break in late September or early October.
Summer holidays for most children are a time to relax, enjoy themselves, and catch up on studies, or to spend time with family or relatives. Many families travel together on school holidays.
School holidays have many effects on a country, ranging from the price of travel and holiday accommodation, which increase as demand increases while children are off school, to a change in crime rate: Example UK crime rate monthly figures. Traffic congestion and heavy passenger loads on public transport on school run routes may be worse on school days during term time. The number of families taking holidays away from urban areas can reduce traffic and use of public transport in cities while loading long-distance highways and means of transport.
Coming soon – a guide to School Holidays in South Africa