Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says government will focus on improving infrastructure at schools across South Africa this year.

Motshekga is at Wembezi Secondary School at Escourt in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands for the first day of the 2019 school year.

Last year, Wembezi Secondary performed well with a 94.8% matric pass rate.

Motshekga says fixing key infrastructure challenges is a must this year.

She says some of the schools she visited, it was embarrassing to even enter the premises.

“How can you expect professionals to work effectively? So the biggest challenge is just getting basic infrastructure in place. In one of the schools I went to, the principal’s chair is even wobbling, you can imagine what the kids chairs are like.”

Motshekga also says the drop out rate around grades 9 and 10 is concerning.

She says: “Unfortunately when they reach grade 9 and 10 for whatever reasons, including youth criminality, teenage pregnancy, but also challenges with the curriculum, around 30% drop out but others go to TVET colleges. There is a branching out after grade 9. We are also trying very hard to fight the repetition rate.”