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School year begins

South African pupils have been wished a happy and successful year as schools open today.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Millions of pupils across South Africa are being wished a happy and successful year as schools prepare for the first day of the 2014 academic calander.

To make sure all goes smoothly this morning, top government officials are fanning out to schools across the country where millions of pupils will arrive for their first day of the academic year.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga have arrived at Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School in Midrand.

The two will be monitoring the school's state of readiness as the first day of the academic year begins.

Children are arriving in their numbers, proudly wearing their uniforms and preparing to hear from the deputy president during assembly this morning.

Motlanthe and the Basic Education Minister are here today visiting schools in the area to ensure teaching gets underway as soon as possible.

This school has been identified as one of the priority schools in the province and for the first time, Gauteng's top achiever was at a school which is part of the improvement program.

Praise Ndebele (18), who matriculated at the school last year, clinched the title and was recently awarded for his upstanding academic results.

Meanwhile, Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy has wished pupils well on their first day back at school.

"I just want to say to all Gauteng learners, especially the parents of learners going into grade 1 today I want to wish you lots of luck, I hope it's a happy and productive day."

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's a nervous and exciting day for learners and their parents at the Hendrik Louw Primary in Strand.

Pupils can be seen trickling into the primary school gates, some walking hand-in-hand with their moms and dads.

A little girl starting her school career today got a final inspection from her mother, who wanted to make sure she was neat and tidy before heading onto the premises.

Meanwhile it's busy outside the Nkazimlo Primary School in Khayelitsha.

Some six-year-olds have just arrived, waiting patiently for the gates to be opened.

On the school premises, a caretaker can be seen inspecting some of the classrooms.

Last year, this school was recognised by the Western Cape Education Department after it managed to increase its grade 3 maths results from 51.7 percent to 81.2 percent.

Looking Smart: Benoni resident Bradley Smith accompanied his excited son to his first day of school on 15 January, 2015. Picture: Via Twitter

Class of 2014: These two Gauteng children were two of many pupils who started the 2014 school year on 15 January. Picture: Koena Mashala via Twitter