It’s back to school for learners in coastal provinces. Schools open for the 2022 academic year on Wednesday.
Some schools have been affected by severe thunderstorms resulting in flooding, while others were looted and stripped of school infrastructure and technological gadgets.
This added to already existing challenges of learner materials, school transport and infrastructure in provinces like the Eastern Cape.
The Northern Cape Education Department says it’s all systems go and schools across the province are ready to welcome learners as thousands of learners started their new school career along the coastal region on Wednesday.
Over 20 000 grade one, R and 8 learners were registered for the 2022 school year. A school principal in Kimberley. SABC News’ Reginald Witbooi and video journalist Lereko Motseko visit Staats Primary School in Kimberley.
There were some tears and anxious little faces among the Grade ones at Blanco Primary in George in the Southern Cape. For some starting, their first day in the big school was a bit overwhelming, but most took it in their stride.
Six-year-old Mila Barry’s parents, Cecil and Louise, say while they are excited for the new school year, there is also a lot of uncertainty ahead.
“We’re very excited, it’s the first day, but all good, happy to be back. The tears are close, it’s been a long holiday, but we’re very excited. Can’t wait for the year ahead. But because of COVID-19, you don’t want to get too excited, not knowing what lies ahead…”
National Teachers Union (Natu) secretary-general Cynthia Barnes says that the past two years were hard on teachers and learners alike, due to the pandemic.
“That on its own had a negative impact, where learners weren’t getting the right learning and teaching experience. So, our teachers, some of them passed on due to COVID-9 then you find that they had to stretch, taking subjects of other teachers and the learning and teaching did not go very well. So, we are hopeful that this year will be the best year for learning and teaching,” adds Barnes.
The video below discusses the coastal schools reopening:
Impact of flood
Meanwhile, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education says there are measures in place to assist schools that have been impacted by recent floods and torrential rain.
KwaZulu-Natal education spokesperson Muzi Mhlambi says mobile classrooms have been earmarked for about 90 affected schools.
He says these schools will open today even if they have to accommodate fewer learners on a rotational timetable.
“We are comfortably ready. We can’t say [we are] 100% ready because some of the things are beyond our control like the rains that we have had. The flooding [in some schools] are the things that mitigate against our 100 percent state of readiness. Otherwise, stationery was sent to schools in time. The school nutrition people are going to be feeding on [learners] today,” adds Mhlambi.