WATCH: Crying, laughter and excitement as 1 million Cape pupils go to school
Cape Town - Today was an exciting day for many learners and parents as over 1 million learners started school in the Western Cape – many for the first time.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer visited St Mary’s Primary School in Gardens, to welcome the learners. Schäfer said that of the million learners in the province, "about 107 000 were just beginning their school career in Grade 1 – an increase from 104 336 learners in 2019".
Of those starting high school, Schäfer said "a projected 93 000 learners are joining us for Grade 8. This is a significant increase from 85 771 Grade 8s in 2019. We’ve also welcomed 69 400 Grade R learners so far."
Fiona Sellar, principal of St Mary's Primary advised parents to be more patient with their children on the first school days.
Sellar said St Mary's Primary is one of the best schools in the province and is marking its 157th anniversary this year.
Fiona Sellar, principal of the St Mary's Primary giving advice to the parents to be more patient with their children on the first school days. #backtoschool2020 #backtoschool pic.twitter.com/hiywrWbZUp— Cape Argus (@TheCapeArgus) January 15, 2020
Nontembeko Poswa, said she is happy to bring her child, who is starting Grade 1, to the school.
"Although, she was struggling to wake up, but she was looking forward to this day. To wear her new uniform, getting new friends and starting her new class," Poswa said.
In her smile, Poswa's daughter said her dream to be a soldier, "because I want to have money".
Schäfer added, "The WCED opens two new schools this year: Delft High School and Disa Rd Primary School. Learners from Crestway High School and Phillipi High School will also be moving into two new school buildings as part of our replacement programme."
She said there have been several expansion projects at schools across the province.
"This includes the building of additional classrooms at schools to accommodate growth through a variety of means."
Those include eight schools which received 40 new brick and mortar classrooms, six schools received 18 Moladi classrooms, 11 un-utilized classrooms were refurbished, 103 mobile classrooms were built at 16 identified schools.
Schäfer said three schools received an additional seven classrooms to accommodate more Grade R learners.
Premier Alan Winde tweeted his welcomed to the learners: "I would like to welcome back all learners who will be starting their school year for 2020. May this be an exciting and promising year for you! Let us continue to play our part as responsible citizens in keeping our children safe in the Western Cape."@SISONKE_MD