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Motlanthe: Education is a great equaliser

Kgalema Motlanthe says education is an equaliser in a country with many inequalities.

Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe at the Ponelopele Oracle Secondary school on 15 January 2014. Picture: Christa Van der Walt/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has encouraged high school pupils to do their very best this year, saying their skills and knowledge are part of the country's future.

Motlanthe and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga are at the Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School in Midrand, where they'll be monitoring the school's state of readiness as the first day of the academic year begins.

The deputy president says children are the future South Africa and their education is imperative.

"I remember my teacher used to say: 'Procrastination is the thief of time. Never do tomorrow what you can do today.'

Pupils at Ponelopele Oracle Secondary school gather at assembly during the first day of school. Picture: Picture: Christa Van der Walt/EWN.

He says education is a great equaliser and while there are still many inequalities in this country, education is the one tool that can bring the nation together.

Motlanthe has encouraged pupils to be dedicated to their school work from day one.

He told pupils, "The first step you take today, at the end of the year, you will realise the results of your efforts."

It's back to school at Ponelopele Oracle Secondary school and pupils look set and ready to start the 2014 academic year. Picture: Christa Van der Walt/EWN.

Praise Ndebele, who matriculated at from the school last year and clinched Gauteng's top achiever title, also spoke to pupils and encouraged the grade 12s to do their very best this year.

Meanwhile, as pupils settle in for the start of the 2014 academic year, Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy says this is also the first day of a year of hard work for teachers and other education officials.

The MEC was speaking at the Realeboga Primary School in Palm Ridge, where she welcomed grade 1 pupils to their first day of school.

She also told Eyewitness News that while she's pleased with the 2013 academic year, it is now important for the department to keep the momentum going and do even more.

Creecy will visit two more schools in the area during the course of the day.

Sister act: Sisters Cirstie (left) and Tayla prepare for their first day of school on 15 January, 2014. Picture: Theo Esau via Twitter

Gauteng Education Department says it has opened a special operations centre to assist parents with late registrations.

The department's Phumla Sekhonyane says, "We're appealing to parents not to go to schools for later registration. Please go to our district in Gauteng. If you are not being assisted at the district or if you're not satisfied with the response there's also an established operations centre in the department."

The centre can be contacted on 0730641565 or 0834017644.

CAPE TOWN

It hasn't been a smooth start to the academic year for at least one Khayelitsha school.

Some parents are fuming after learning there's apparently no space for their children at the Nkazimlo Primary School.

Parents are upset after their children have been put on the waiting list outside Nkazimlo Primary School in Khayelitsha. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN

While for many today marks the beginning of a 12 year journey, other pupils are returning to the classroom after a long break.

There were emotional scenes at the Khayelitsha school this morning as some parents, with their children in tow, were turned away.

Parents are visibly upset, saying they have been told their children, who were to start grade 1 today, have been put on a waiting list.

The school says it will deal with the matter, but only tomorrow.

Despite the hiccup, there seems to be a general mood of excitement among the learners as the day kicks off.

Last year, Nkazimlo Primary received two awards from the Western Cape Education Department for language and mathematics.

Parents, learners and teachers still arriving at Nkazimlo Primary School in Khayelitsha on 15 January 2014. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN

Meanwhile some parents, whose children are starting their school careers today, say they are surprised at how easily their children have adapted to their new environment.

Mother, Tanya Brink says it's a big day for her son who starts grade 1 at Hendrik Louw Primary in Strand.

"It's sad and I didn't think I would be. But he was very brave and I am the one whose going to cry in the car now."

At the same time, it's been a morning of excitement and nerves for grade 8 learners at Sea Point High School.

Easily spotted, dressed in oversized blazers, trousers and shoes, grade 8 pupils are getting ready for their first day of high school.

Walking slowly toward the entry gates, Oswell Haabanze seemed somewhat apprehensive.

He told Eyewitness News he is excited, but also nervous about what awaits him behind the big black gates.

Older Sea Point High School learners can be seen watching the little fish entering the big pond.

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