No fun in the sun on first day of school

It was a mixed picture of chaos and plain-sailing as schools reopened their doors this month.

While education MECs like Ignatius Jacobs spoke with enthusiasm about the schools he and other dignitaries visited on the first day, many parents and learners had far less to cheer about. Thabo Mbeki Primary School (above and left) in Freedom Park outside Johannesburg was one scene of disarray.
A series of miscommunications from community leaders and the Gauteng Department of Education had parents and learners running fruitlessly from pillar to post, as the primary school being built nearby was not ready for occupation and alternative schools were still being found for the youngsters.

Silver Oaks Senior Secondary in Eldorado Park, Gauteng, was one of the many schools that suffered through the annual problem of late registration. This is despite repeated calls from education departments for parents to register children for the next year well in advance.

Registration issues of a different nature surfaced in Limpopo, with four mainly Afrikaans schools initially refusing to admit pupils - apparently because of language issues.

But on the whole, provinces reported a relatively smooth process. Minister of Education Kader Asmal noted the huge improvement, saying, ‘There is a change in the mood [at schools] and teachers and pupils are motivated.”

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