KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Education Kwazi Mshengu announced on Wednesday that the first day of the 2020 academic year had gone well. Mshengu said that admissions were an ongoing challenge, and that schools should not just turn pupils away. The MEC pleaded with parents to allow the department to deal with the issue with district offices. “We need to ensure that the education of our children becomes a societal issue that continues to occupy the energies of all of us; not just for today when schools re-open; not just when the Grade 12 results are released – but every single day of the year,” said the MEC. He said the department had declared the majority of the learning facilities “no-fee schools”, ensured the provision of the National School Nutrition scheme, the Learner Transport initiative, and the provision of sanitary pads to “deserving school learners”. “Through these interventions, we are removing the obstacles preventing access, and ensuring that all children can perform at their best regardless of their parents’ material conditions,” said Mshengu.Meanwhile, mixed emotions were felt at Scottsville Primary School on Wednesday morning as parents said goodbye to their little ones who started their first day in Grade 1. The children got excited when they met up with their friends from the previous year at Scottsville Gardens Pre-Primary School, and all the new children were warmly welcomed. Principal of the school, Nhlanhla Mkhize, said he had a lovely morning welcoming the Grade 1s.“I noticed that most of them were just happy to finally be in uniform and school shoes,” said Mkhize. Friends since pre-primary, Simingezwi Muthwa and Cebolenkosi Langa told The Witness they were thrilled to be together in the same class this year. “We can’t wait to see our other friends at break time!” the girls said, beaming.Public relations officer at Scottsville Carmen Cawood said the little ones were generally always calm on their first day in Grade 1 because they are already familiar with the school, after having been at the pre-primary previously. The transition is always a smooth one,” said Cawood.