It’s all systems go for the 2020 academic year in all schools in KwaZulu-Natal. That’s despite Mother Nature wreaking havoc in parts of the province in 2019.

Over 140 schools were damaged by storms causing total damage worth R408 million. Authorities in the province say they’ve put temporary measures to ensure that teaching and learning begin on the first day of the new term.

The highest number of children going to school in the country is found in KwaZulu-Natal. The province’s 6000 schools will enrol at least 2.8 million pupils in 2020.

Education authorities say they’ve taken a strong stance against ill-discipline and violence within school premises.

KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu says: “We are calling on parents to ensure that they accompany their children to school on the first day because they have to sign a code of conduct which we are going to ensure that all learners in schools abide by so we can address the issue of bad behaviour.”

This is a concern echoed by parents.

Sivananda High Shcool School Governing Body’s Phumzile Kubheka says: “We are concerned about the violence in schools. In this school, we have taken a decision to make sure that all learners attend a session that focuses on teaching them good behaviour.”

In 2019 storms and tornados left a trail of destruction in some parts of the province.

The department says close to R500 million is needed to fix the dilapidated school infrastructure.

The KZN Education MEC says: “We don’t have money. We need about R408 million to rebuild those schools. But what we have done is to deploy mobile classrooms to protect the time for teaching and learning to all the schools that were affected by the storms.”

Authorities say they will intensify their intervention programs across the province to ensure that it achieves a better matric pass rate.

In 2019, the province improved its matric results by over 5 percentage points.