Back to school: Tears, smiles & goodbyes

The first day of the 2015 academic year has started for inland schools.

FILE: Lesedi Modise on her first day of school. Picture: Moeketsi/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The first day of the 2015 academic year has started for inland schools with thousands of pupils now in classrooms.

In Gauteng, primary schools are expecting to welcome around 105,000 grade ones.

Some MECs and other high-ranking officials have been deployed to various schools to oversee the smooth running of operations.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa officially launched an innovative programme at the Boitumelong Primary School in Tembisa this morning.

The school is one of seven in the province set to pilot the Paperless Education Programme, which will see pupils have access to learning material through the use of tablets & computers.

Earlier, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga officially opened a science lab at the school and has encouraged learners to work harder and do better than the class of 2014.

SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN

Meanwhile, at the Nokuthula Special Needs School in Marlboro, a number of mothers cried and took pictures with their children before completing registration formalities.

Pupils with varying disabilities from across Johannesburg attend the school which is fully subsidised by the government.

Scholar transport buses and parents walking their children to school arrived to a colourful presentation by teachers welcoming returning pupils and close to 100 children arriving there for the first time.

The school is the only one of its kind in the Alexandra-Marlboro area, but because of its comprehensive curriculum and success with other pupils, parents from as far as Midrand and Johannesburg's inner city have arrived.

Teachers say the school can accommodate just over 350 pupils, but wouldn't reveal how many applications have been received or how many people have been turned away.

About five families live in the factory near the Nokhutula Special Needs School in Marlboro.

One woman, who has a son in grade 8 and a daughter in grade 1 this year, told Eyewitness News she couldn't wait for them to go back.

'NO ROOM FOR FAILURE'

The first school bell of the year has rung at the Walter Sisulu Primary School in Olievenhoutbosch and the principal has welcomed new and returning pupils.

He's called on them to aim for excellence, reminding the assembly there is no room for failure.

"Gear yourself up. This is the year of business. We want to work so hard that we do not have not one child that fails at the end of the year."

Parents say they have high hopes for the year ahead and that education is their only ticket out of poverty.

LIMPOPO CONFIDENT FOR 2015

In the wake of a crippling textbook crisis the Limpopo Education Department says it expects every pupil and teacher to have the necessary material from day one of the 2015 academic year.

The province has made headlines over the last three years for its failure to deliver learning material to schools and major problems around sanitation.

Provincial Education spokesman Paena Galane says 2015 will be the year of the book for Limpopo.

"When we re-open, we will have every learner with a textbook and all materials needed. Teachers have all the support tools they need."

He says more than 54, 000 teachers have been formally employed while 700 ad hoc posts have been created to plug any holes that may emerge.

Galane says the doors of learning are open to every child in the province.

"We wish every child from Grade R to Grade 12 all the best."

The department says it will monitor textbook supply closely this month to remedy any supply problems that arise.