Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Western Cape Schools get into the swing of things

By Mandisi Tyulu and Yamkela Xhaso
21 January 2009

It was all tears and smiles as some of the learners were beginning their first day of school and for some it was great feeling meeting their school friends after a lengthy holiday.

Bush Radio reporter Mandisi Tyulu went to Soyisile Primary School in Khayelitsha to witness the re-opening and to speak to some of the learners and teachers as well as the principal.

Tyulu describes the atmosphere as chaotic with learners running around, and some of the learners were crying for their parents who went to drop them to school.

I had an opportunity to speak to some of the teachers who said they face quit a number of challenges such as absenteeism, discipline, reading as well as crime and HIV and AIDS.

Bush radio reporter Yamkela Xhaso went to Spurwing Primary School in Eerste Rivier which is amongst those coastal schools which opened today. Education MEC’s are expected to make surprise visits to schools to ensure that learning gets underway.

The principal said that the school is ready to start class, stationary was delivered on time as well as resources that learners use except one minor problem of later admissions that we have to deal with

The learners and parents arrival was slower than expected. They began arriving only at 7.20 am but afterwards the school hall was full to capacity. The hall was only for the new comers whose names were announced by the principal Charles Hendricks to go to their chosen classes.

Also queues in the administration building were getting longer because parents who wanted to register their children were already late but should have done it last year; this is according to the principal, who said one of the problems was

“Parents registering late, we sent out letters last year reminding parents to come and register so that we can start planning for 2009”

Principal Hendricks said parents should stop reacting late and start reacting early when schools open.

Now the children will pay the price by not being admitted because the school was full.

But the school did not waste any time, it got classes under way just after the principal of school announced the names of the newcomers allocating them to their class. Bush radio went to find out from the school beginners about their ambitions since it was their first school day of their lives.

Most learners wanted to be doctors, others policemen, nurses traffic police and hairstylists.

The teachers too had their expectations for this year just like any other year. Mrs Malepe a Grade R teacher in Spurwing said she expected “parents to support us and learners must attend school everyday and work harder”

The principal Charles Hendricks said the expectations were the OBE which was a huge adaptation for teachers but they were coping.

The parents had their fears others feared crime, bullying, loneliness and corporal punishment from teachers.

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