Schools in KwaZulu-Natal began teaching and learning when the first bell rang yesterday morning.
At most of the public schools that Sowetan visited, teachers went from one classroom to another distributing textbooks and stationery and teaching.
At Phakama Higher Primary School in KwaMashu, pupils took turns to queue outside the library to collect their textbooks and stationery. A handful of schools were still busy attending to late registrations of returning and new pupils.
There were also reports of a few schools that had still not received textbooks, though they claimed to have ordered in time.
Teacher unions and the education department had deployed their officials throughout the province to make sure that learning began on time.
Education MEC Ina Cronje visited schools to check on reports that almost 100percent of textbooks were delivered on time.
Cronje, accompanied by acting premier Zweli Mkhize, made their first unannounced stop at Mconjwana High School in Empophomeni in the Umgungundlovu district. The school made a name for itself by achieving a matric pass rate of more than 70percent last year.
Teachers and pupils were happy to be recognised for their achievement and vowed that this year they were aiming for a 100percent pass rate.
Cronje and Mkhize also stopped at Songonzima Primary School, situated in an area known for its high crime rate.
Sipho Nkosi of the South African Democratic Teachers Union said their members had arrived at school on time and that there had been no disruptions.
Nkosi also visited several schools in KwaMashu, Inanda and Newlands East.
He said he was impressed by the overall readiness of most schools and that he was highly impressed by the JG Zuma High School in Bester, which is a poverty-stricken community.
"Regardless of the high unemployment rate in the area, all the pupils were dressed in full uniform and were well behaved.
"Teachers were running proceedings very smoothly while learning was going on."
But, not all was well at the new Mount Royal Primary School near KwaMashu.
Teachers and pupils were disappointed when they arrived at their new school only to find empty classrooms, without a single chair or table. Construction of the school was completed in the middle of last year. The department had not yet provided the school with furniture, stationery or even textbooks.
Yesterday teacher unions hit out at the province's department of education for the lack of cleaners and administrative staff at several disadvantaged schools. Nkosi blamed the department for not deploying clerks and cleaners to these schools as promised.