Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Cape Town - The Western Cape education Member of the Executive Council (MEC), Debbie Schäfer on Wednesday said the province had a smooth start to the 2018 school year as more than one million learners flocked to schools to begin the first term, many for the first time.

Schäfer said she would like to welcome all new learners and their parents into the Western Cape schools.

“A special welcome to the 106,015 Grade 1 learners who started school today across the province. This morning I visited Levana Primary School in Lavender Hill, accompanied by my chief director of districts, Mr Alan Meyer, and I was very pleased to see how organised the principal and school management team were. I briefly met with the teachers before the school day to offer words of encouragement for the 2018 school year,” she said in a statement.

“The school principal, Mr Lamprecht, was at school very early this morning to ensure that the school was ready to receive learners”.

She said that was evident that the school was ready for teaching and learning with classrooms well organised and class lists finalised.

“It was heartwarming to see so many parents there to accompany their children to school on their first day. At Levana Primary, learners are met at the school gates by school safety officers. While many learners were very brave as they bid farewell to their parents, there were also some tears shed as parents stood at the school fence to watch their little ones enter the next stage of their life,” said Schäfer.

“We eventually managed to convince the learners who were upset to return to class and the school day kicked off without any hiccups.”

The department said that publishers had delivered all textbooks ordered by schools via the Western Cape education department's (WCED) online textbook ordering system at the end of last year.

Schools will place top-up orders should they experience unexpected growth in enrolment. Suppliers have delivered additional desks, chairs and other items of furniture requested by schools for 2018. The department has ordered extra PVC classrooms and will relocate these, as required. Final placement will depend on where they are needed the most.

"To parents who are having difficulties enrolling their child, or who have failed to enrol their child, I urge you to approach the local district office as soon as possible, for assistance with finding a place at a school,” she said.

Each district office has identified officials who will assist parents who struggle to find a place when schools re-open.

The WCED will be on stand-by to provide assistance at schools where there are late registrations and any other last-minute tasks that need to be completed.

“I would also like to appeal to parents to take an active part in their child’s education. Parents have an important role in their child’s school career and we ask that they assist us in this 12-year journey by cultivating and encouraging their child’s reading and writing skills. Children can achieve much more with supportive, interested parents. Without it, their entire futures could be compromised,” said Schäfer.

African News Agency/ANA