Excitement and hope
On Wednesday, public schools around South Africa opened their doors for teaching and learning in 2017.
St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School was abuzz with new pupils accompanied by their parents and siblings as principal Gerard Jacobs stood by the gate to welcome them.
Geroniza Vosloo’s son, Caleb Vosloo, will be in Grade 5 this year.
“I feel like it is very important for my son to know and understand the value of education. I tell him that every day,” she said.
Tamryn Cannon, also in Grade 5 this year, was excited about being in a new grade and being with her friends again.
“I am looking forward to meeting my new classmates and teacher and I hope that I will pass this year too,” she said.
Grade 6 Tashriq Blake, who recently relocated to Grahamstown from Port Elizabeth, was enthusiastic as he entered the gate with his uncle, Jonathan Kitchen.
Tashriq said he looked forward to meeting his teachers and making new friends.
Jacobs said the only concern the school has is the insufficient number of posts allocated to them by the Department of Education.
“The SGB had to create four posts and is currently employing four teachers,” Jacobs said.
“This places undue pressure on the finances of the school, as it is a non-fee-paying school,” he said.
However, Jacobs said there were enough textbooks and stationery and the government had provided scholar transport.
“The school is ready for the academic year and we are hoping to achieve our usual good results,” he said.
George Dickerson Primary School also had a busy morning with parents calming little ones’ nerves and settling them in.
Thandiwe Petse accompanied her grandson, Lukhanyo Maneli, who will be in Grade 5.
“I have quite an amazing history with this school because my sister’s child was said to be a slow learner prior to coming to George Dickerson many years back - but she obtained a Bachelor pass in matric and is going to NMMU this year,” she said.
She said she could not have chosen a better school for her grandson.
Good Shepherd also had a good start to the academic year.
Grade R teacher Magdalene Hellier said the children were at ease because they did not even cry.
“My concern so far is lack of space. We have had to turn parents away since we are so full. Some parents even came with their kids, begging for a place, and you could see the disappointment in their little faces. That broke my heart,” she said.
Good Shepherd Primary School Head of Department, Katie Appollis, said the biggest issue that they have at the school is the shortage of teachers; however, they don’t let that deter them.
“Our main objective is for teaching and learning to take place and we have received great support from our NGOs and members of the Trust,” Appollis said.
“We also have enough textbooks and scholar transport is under way,” she confirmed.
• More back-to-school stories and pictures in our special FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL pullout feature inside this edition.
Thandiwe Petse with her grandson Lukhanyo Maneli at George Dickerson.