Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
ABOUT 12million children began the new academic year across the country yesterday.
Of these, about1,1million are Grade 1 pupils and 500000 were enrolled into Grade R.
Ninety-nine percent of textbooks and stationery had been delivered to schools.
In Gauteng, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and education MEC Barbara Creecy visited schools to ensure that schooling started on the first day.
Mokonyane and Creecy visited Kelokitso Secondary School inMeadowlands, which was one of the best performers in the province, but last year slipped to being one of the worst.
In 2008, the school obtained an 89 percent matric pass rate but last year only 40 percent.
"We understand that there might have been difficulties with the maths and physical science papers," Creecy said.
"But that doesn't mean we should give up on the school.
"The school system needs three pillars - teachers, learners and parents."
She said the department had a special mathematics and science programme, with Sci-Bono to help pupils who failed matric.
"Learners who failed should register by January 21. We'll offer extra lessons to improve the results," said Creecy.
At Hlakaniphani Primary School in Dlamini, Mokonyane said it was important to give pupils a solid foundation.
"Learners start being excellent from primary school."
She donated school uniforms to pupils.
Creecy said she was worried about the foundation phase.
"This year, we will roll out standardised lesson plans to ensure that schooling is effective.
"We have 790 under-performing primary schools and we have to sort it out.
"The majority of learners in Grade 3 and 6 cannot adequately read or write and that has to be fixed."
Creecy encouragedparents to invest at least 10 minutes a day to help their children with school work.