Challenges mark start of 2024 academic year in various Provinces

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The commencement of the 2024 academic year faces challenges in several provinces, with issues ranging from storm damage to infrastructure problems and overcrowded classrooms.

In KwaZulu-Natal, particularly in the Midlands, the academic year starts slowly due to the impact of recent storms and heavy rains.

The provincial education department reports that 59 schools in 9 districts had suffered damage.

Mtshezi High School in Estcourt was one of the affected schools, losing roofs over the majority of its classrooms. The school had to resort to using mobile classrooms to accommodate students.

The School Governing Body (SGB) chairperson at Mtshezi High School, Lindokuhle Hadebe states, “Now I have got a lot of learners. We have a shortage of classes. For now, we do have mobile classes. All the learners from grade 11 and 12 will use mobile classes, but the 10 classes are not ready to admit the learners.”

A look at the readiness of coastal schools for academic year 2024

Meanwhile, in the North West, Masamane Primary School, located over 100 kilometres outside Mafikeng, did not open for the new academic year. Parents closed the school, citing concerns about unhygienic flushing toilets, poor-quality drinking water, and other issues.

The school had also faced closures for similar reasons in the previous year.

In the Eastern Cape’s Northern Areas of Gqeberha, overcrowded classrooms posed a challenge for some schools on the first day of the academic year.

Parents at Dr A.W Habelgaarn Primary School raised concerns about the impact of overcrowding on the quality of education. Despite the challenges, parents were still seeking available spots for their children in the school.

The first day of school kicks off smoothly at some schools in Bloemfontein in the Free State despite some parents still looking for space for their children. Doors open for over 1 000 learners at Lekhulong Secondary School where the MEC for education Makalo Mohale paid a visit earlier this morning.

Lekhulong school principal Neria Seheri says they managed the application process but more parents are still coming.

Overcrowding in Free State schools a growing concern: