Cape Town - Western Cape schools were expecting at least 950 000 pupils to enrol on the first day of teaching, the Western Cape education department said on Wednesday.
So far no problems had been reported, but district offices were monitoring the situation, spokeswoman Bronagh Casey said.
Officials were expecting late enrolment of pupils - an annual occurrence.
“We cannot predict how many new learners will enter the system from other provinces or how many parents had to relocate to the Western Cape during the festive season,” Casey said.
“District officials are out and about at schools and will deal with every learner on a case by case basis.”
Casey said a smooth start to the academic year was expected, but some problems were anticipated.
“We delivered all textbooks by the end of last year and finalised timetables. There's always hiccups in the system... and we'll deal with these as they come in,” she said.
Education MEC Donald Grant visited Fairview Primary School, one of three newly constructed schools, to welcome Grade One pupils.
“There were a few tears as parents dropped their little ones off for the first day of school,” Casey said.
At St Cyprian's School in Cape Town there were very few tears when parents dropped their children off at “big school”.
Some pre-school pupils were clinging to their parents, hesitant to let go.
However, most of the parents said they were more nervous about letting go than their children were.
Some youngsters were clearly shy and had to be coaxed into classrooms by their doting parents.
One look at the school playground, however, had them running from their classrooms towards the sand pits and jungle gyms.
Six-year-old Madison Eskinazi said she was excited at the prospect of starting her Grade One lessons.
Madison's mom Sarhan Brophy-Eskinazi said she was a bit more nervous.
“Madison was fine and very determined to carry her own bag which made me cry just a little bit,” Brophy-Eskinazi said.
Six-year-old Julianna, who could not recall her last name, said she was not sad at all.
“I'm happy and excited, but my two-year-old sister cried when I came to class,” she said. - Sapa