Media release

Government congratulates all learners on their first day of school

13 January 2017

13 January 2017

Government congratulates all learners, especially Grade One’s, on their first day of school for the 2017 academic year. For Grade One learners the first schooling day signifies the next chapter in their lives and government encourages all learners to remain focused on their studies in order to have a better future.

Overall, the first day of the academic calendar went well with limited challenges across the country. Government leadership was present at several schools to offer support and guidance and to motivate the learners.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa accompanied by the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, and Free State Premier Ace Magashule and Education MEC Tate Makgoe, visited Phehellang Secondary School in Parys yesterday.

Other Ministers and MECs also visited various schools across the country to encourage learners to go forward and reach for their dreams.

Yesterday, in KwaZulu-Natal, the Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi handed over bicycles and school shoes to learners. Recipients of the bicycles were learners who travel more than 15km per day in order to get to school. Minister Muthambi encouraged the youth to realise that education is key to many positive opportunities in life.

KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC Belinda Scott also led a delegation of members of the Provincial Legislature, Mayors and staff from various government departments and municipalities during a Legislature-initiated School Opening Functionality Monitoring Programme to three schools in the Impendle area, in Midlands.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor also visited the Soulridge High School in Atteridgeville, Pretoria where she met with the principal, parents, and district officials before proceeding to address both the learners and teachers. Minister Pandor, accompanied by the Director-General, Dr Phil Mjwara donated learning materials and office furniture to help the school to improve the learning and teaching of maths and science.

In Gauteng, Premier David Makhura and Provincial Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi officially opened a primary school in Soweto, which is named Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela Primary School.

Today, 12 January, Minister Muthambi accompanied by the Mpumalanga Education MEC Reginah Mhaule, handed over multi-media centres valued at R5.4-million to six schools in the Ehlanzeni District Municipal area. The minister will also visit other schools in Mpumalanga to interact will learners, teachers and school governing bodies.

Since the advent of democracy, government has prioritised education as a means to transform the lives of young South Africans for the better. Government interventions have led to continuous improvements in our education system as reflected in the steady increase in the overall matric pass rate. Inspired by the National Development Plan which calls for a joint national initiative to drive efforts to improve learning outcomes in schools, government will convene a National Development Plan 2030 Back to School Imbizo Week at the end of February 2017.

Acting GCIS Director-General, Donald Liphoko said, “Government is confident that teachers will continue to work hard to ensure the best possible education for our learners.  Parents are encouraged to provide a supportive environment to learners as they start the 2017 academic year. Parents should be actively involved in activities at school, including school governance structures.”

Donald Liphoko
Cell: 082 901 0766

Issued by Government Communications and Information System (GCIS)

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