As schools across the province opened last week, at schools Vukani visited, there was hope that this would be a good year, teachers were in high spirits and principals declared that there was good co-operation between the school governing bodies (SGBs), neighbourhood watches, residents and the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).
Luzuko Primary School principal Noxolo Nonkonyane commended neighbouring residents and the neighbourhood watch for protecting the school which had been vandalised a number of times in the past. Over the past holiday, however, they were spared the trauma of returning to a vandalised premises.
An elated Ms Nonkonyane hopes that the situation will continue. “God has been on our side this year,” she said when asked what could have changed.
She said the relationship between the school and the residents seemed to work wonders and thanked them for a job well done.
“We formed a relationship with the neighbourhood watch and school neighbours. That worked for us. We asked the watch to constantly make rounds at the school and they agreed.
“We are truly grateful for that. We also spoke to our neighbours to look after their school. We believe this has helped. We thank all of them,” she said.
Nomlingiselo Primary School deputy principal Diniswa Skosana was equally happy. She said learning got off to a good start and praised residents for looking after the school during the holidays.
She said the spate of vandalism at the school had been nerve racking. “What they (burglaries) mean was we could not start schooling normal like any other school. But we are happy this year all is well. Everything was done on time. We did registration last year. There were only few parents that came to seek a place for their children. But that was not a big deal,”she said.
Ms Skosana also hopes that the burglaries will come to an end, allowing teaching and learning to continue without hassles.
Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for Eduction MEC Debbie Schäfer, also expressed happiness with how things panned out at schools last week.
She said the MEC went out to some schools to monitor the situation and had been pleased with the progress.
“It was an exciting day for many children and their parents as more than one million pupils in the Western Cape started school, many for the first time. It was heart-warming to see so many parents there to accompany their children to school on their first day,” she said.
Ms Shelver urged parents with difficulties registering their children to approach their local district office for assistance.
She said each district office had officials who would help parents find a place for their children.
The department also appealed to parents to play an active part in their children’s education, pointing out that children can achieve much more with supportive, interested parents.
The department said parents can assist their child’s school career by cultivating and encouraging their child’s reading and writing skills.