It’s back to business for schools across the province

2014-01-15 00:00

ALL state schools in the province were expected to be fully operational today as thousands of pupils returned to school yesterday, while for some it was the first day of a new experience.

Yesterday, private schools opened their doors and eager parents snapped pictures of their children with their iPhones and iPads as they sat for the first time in their Grade 1 classes.

Moms and dads embraced their daughters and sons as they said their hesitant goodbyes.

None of the Grade 1s at Durban Girls’ College shed a tear, and seemed happy to be at school. They were already writing and flipping through the story book pages and listening attentively to their teachers.

Kevin Baitz, a dad from Morningside, said his daughter had grown up too soon. Six-year-old Isobella was not too excited about waking up in the morning after the long festive season, he said.

But she was definitely happy to come to school and make new friends, Baitz said. “She is a smart kid.”

Baitz said this was one of his proudest moments — to see his daughter starting a new chapter in her life. But he admitted that it was somehow scary because Isobella would be a big girl soon.

One mother who definitely had her hands full was Deborah Reddy, whose triplets started Grade 1 yesterday.

She had to unpack her daughters’ stationery and make sure everything was in order.

“It’s been a long ride,” Reddy said, but this super-mom believes that it’s all in the routine. “Whatever you do for one, you multiply that by three,” she said.

Durban Girls’ College headmaster Thomas Hagspihl was equally excited at the sight of bubbly children in classrooms. “I love this chaos at the beginning. It’s going to be a great year,” said Hagspihl.

Public schools opened their gates yesterday morning and the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department said they were more than ready for the 2014 academic year.

The department said it will not tolerate late registrations and those with legitimate challenges must get in touch with their district offices.

“Each and every year we have the school admission campaign where we mobilise parents to register as early as possible and we totally discourage late registration as it militates against what we want, which is teaching and learning taking place on the first minute of the academic year,” department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said.

Last year, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said South Africa, with an average rate of 19 days in 2012, had the highest rate of teacher absenteeism in the Southern African Development Community.

Mlotshwa said they have confidence in teachers and believe they are all going to report for work on time as many of them have been in schools for the past few days.

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