The provincial education department said it had completed six new schools last year, with another new school expected to open in April.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer’s spokesperson, Jessica Shelver, said three mobile schools have also been completed to accommodate additional growth in hot spot areas.
“In preparation for the upcoming academic year, schools ordered their requirements well in advance in terms of library resources, workbooks, stationery, cleaning materials and other items.
“All textbooks and furniture that was ordered have been delivered,” Shelver said.
The Department of Basic Education said it was excited to get the school year under way, as nationally there were about a million of Grade 1 pupils entering the education system for the first time.
“We have implemented the Early Grade Reading Study which is an intervention to improve literacy at the foundation phase of the education system.
“We have the Read to Lead campaign which will ensure that there is a continuous focus on reading for pleasure as a mechanism to improve not only literacy levels in the country, but also critical thinking and innovation.
“The department is ready to once again begin providing school lunches on day one as part of the National School Nutrition Programme to learners,” the department said.
The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), wished teachers the best and appealed to parents to play their part.
Sadtu said many teachers might be disheartened due to the employer’s failure to pay a 0.3% pay progression, supposed to have come into effect in July.
“We are giving the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education and Training a few days to communicate with the teachers and give TVET lecturers the real reasons why there was no payment and these departments are allowing the National Treasury to undermine the collective agreements under their watch,” Sadtu said.