Late applicants dog schools on opening day
Johannesburg - Late applications for school places dogged opening day in five provinces on Wednesday.
"They still have the belief that registration will happen on day one," said Panyaza Lesufi, spokesperson for Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.
Motshekga and her deputy Enver Surty paid surprise visits to two schools in Bela Bela, Limpopo, and were pleased with their state of readiness in terms of text books and starting on time, he said.
"We were quite impressed when we arrived that schooling started on the first minute," said Lesufi.
However, there were crowds of people arriving for the first time to get a place for their children.
"There was a sudden surge coming out of the deep rural areas to schools closer to town, and the numbers are still huge. There are almost 150 camping outside to get a place," he said.
Other than that, all appeared to be going smoothly.
Schools not allowed to refuse pupils’ entry
The department would help "rescue" schools which had not put in textbook orders in September, as was required.
For parents without money, he reiterated that schools were not allowed to refuse pupils entry because their parents had not paid fees.
"School must punish the parents, not the learners," he said.
Children must go into their classes and start learning and schools must deal with the parents separately.
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane was pleased with what she saw at Cosmos Primary School, spokesperson Xoli Mgambi said.
She arrived around 06:15 and found that children were already arriving for their first day.
Mokonyane gave underprivileged children uniforms and later addressed the school's assembly.
She then moved to Cosmos Secondary School for talks with its principal and the school governing body.
Gauteng had anticipated problems with late admissions for Grade One and Grade Eight.
Grade One admissions were affected by the growing numbers of Grade R classes in primary schools, which meant children were automatically registered for Grade One, leaving few spaces for other pupils.
Urbanisation and parents preferring to send their children to schools outside townships also created problems at admission time.
"In some instances parents in their quest for perceived better quality education, insist on having their children placed in schools that have already reached their capacity," the department of basic education said in an earlier statement.
In North West, Premier Thandi Modise issued a statement saying the improvement in last year's matric results was heartening and should be further improved this year.
MEC for human settlements, public safety and liaison Desbo Mohono would visit a number of schools in the Bloemhof and Taung areas to assess the extent of storm damage.
In some schools which did not have storage facilities, workbooks and textbooks ordered last year would be delivered by the end of January.
Teacher readiness in Mpumalanga was one of the key matters of concern to the department.
The province would receive first priority in the training of teachers. This was scheduled to take place before the end of the month.
Textbook deliveries and late admissions were also expected to dog Free State schools.