2018 school year off to a smooth start in the Western Cape
Today was an exciting day for many learners and parents. More than one million flocked to schools today - many for the first time - as the 2018 school year began in the Western Cape.
I would like to welcome all our new learners and their parents into our 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.
School Principal, Mr Lamprecht, was at school very early this morning to ensure that the school was ready to receive learners.
It was clearly evident that, as a result of good leadership by Mr Lamprecht, the school was ready for teaching and learning with classrooms well organised and class lists finalised.
It was heart-warming 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. One Grade R learner even tried to make a run for it. We eventually managed to convince the learners who were upset to return to class and the school day kicked off without any hiccups.
As most of the preparations were completed well before the end of last year, I am pleased that early indications are that we have had a smooth start to the 2018 school year.
Publishers had delivered all textbooks ordered by schools via the WCED's 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.
It takes between six and eight weeks to install the classrooms. The WCED will have a clearer idea of shifts in enrolment after the 10-day Snap survey later in January.
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.
Each district office has identified officials who will assist parents who struggle to find a place when schools re-open. Please visit the WCED website for a list of district officials as well as answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding enrolments - https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/home/FAQ/faq-index.html
The Western Cape Education Department (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.
Finally, I would like to wish all our learners, educators, officials and parents the very best of luck for a productive and successful year ahead.