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New school year begins in WC

Around a million learners in the Western Cape are in the classroom today.

Grade ones sit around in their class at Sea Point Primary School. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Thousands of children have woken up this morning to begin a new school year.

Around a million learners in the Western Cape in the classroom today to begin their academic year after a long holiday.

Sea Point Primary is boasting a fresh coat of paint for 2015.

#BackToSchool Mrs October (a grade one teacher at Sea Point Primary) says, 5 min into the day and she's already spotted her chatterboxes. NM

It's been an emotional first day of school for some parents of first graders at the school.

As the first bell of the day rings, pupils start filing into their classrooms.

With their freshly ironed shirts and polished shoes; a new batch of first graders embark on the next chapter of their lives.

Surprisingly there are no tears as the pupils look forward to the school year. But it is some of the parents who seem to be having a hard time as they part with their little ones.

#BackToSchool at Seapoint Primary school: What do you want to be when you're older?

Anna, 6: a teenager

BLUE DOWNS

The first day of school at Blue Downs Primary has been incident free.

Western Cape education officials including the provincial MEC Debbie Schafer chafer paid a visit to the school this morning.

Schafer seem happy with how the first day of school is going here.

"I hear that they have a long waiting list and I can see why. Apparently they even had riots at one point because people were so eager to get their children into the school. And I can see it's a lovely school. It's clean. They have interesting ways of teaching."

The MEC has been interacting with grade one learners and their parents.

The little ones kicking off their schooling careers today seem energised and eager with no tear in sight.

GANG VIOLENCE

It's a quiet start to the school year in gang-infested Manenberg as police and city law enforcement officers maintain a strong presence in the area.

In the past, gang violence has forced schools to shut down.

Some pupils at Silverstream High School say they are excited to be back despite their circumstances.

Classrooms are packed to capacity with neatly dressed learners.

Many are however aware of the dangers in their community.

Some say they hope the first day back goes off incident free as they don't want another year of disruptions to their schooling because of gang violence.

Meanwhile, law enforcement officials are patrolling the area.

COST OF UNIFORMS

The Competition Commission says it's received several complaints from parents about the exorbitant costs of school uniforms.

As part of a probe into the issue, the commission has called a meeting with several provincial education departments to discuss the matter.

The commission's Mava Scott says, "We are concerned by this and we are looking into it. Parents must have a choice. They shouldn't be forced to buy. The issues of quality can be discussed and agreed upon."