MEC welcomes Grade 1s to ‘big school’

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Grade 1 learners at Tsholofelo Primary School in Mangaung jumped for joy as FS Department of Education, MEC, Dr Tate "Simply the best" Makgoe, visited them on the first day of school. PHOTO: Pierce van Heerden

Free State MEC of Education, Dr Tate Makgoe, happily welcomed Grade 1 learners to “big school” on Wednesday. The MEC encouraged learners at Tsholohelo Primary School to work hard towards their dreams as schools reopened this week.

Hundreds of learners from Grade One to Seven assembled at the front of the school’s grounds just before the bell rang for their first school day. According to Makgoe, when children attend school for the first time they are blank slates, so teachers help to shape them for the better.

“They learn everything here at school so it’s teachers who transform and change them into learners with improved development who can follow instructions. We want to thank teachers for transforming our children and therefore transforming our society,” he said.

The first day of 2020 opened with some fanfare as learners of various grades showed off their talent at the school. Pupils recited poems and other reading material in SeSotho and English, some showed off their maths skills, while others sang and danced.

“As educational professionals we have to make schools enjoyable. These children will never forget this day because they had fun and we made it enjoyable. This will impact the way that they see school and learning from now on,” Makgoe explained.

The MEC emphasised that primary schools lay the foundation for quality literacy as well as mathematics. He announced that Grade 7 learners would visit the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg, which is Southern Africa’s largest science centre, later this year.

“I call upon principals, HODs and teachers to improve the reading skills of learners. They must be able to read and write in their home languages and in English. So they must be taught these things on a daily basis.”

“Maths is also important because it is essential in life. It makes you think differently, makes you brave and it makes you a problem solver. Children are in primary school longer than in high school, so this is where they should be taught to be confident in their maths skills,” he added.

Parents in Mangaung were just as excited as their little ones on Wednesday when they attended their very first day in Grade 1. Courant visited various primary schools in the area, where parents had to drop off their children for a day of learning and fun.

“My son is in Grade 1 and he was so excited to attend today that he was the one who woke us up this morning. We had some load shedding in our area last night so he made sure that we were awake to iron his uniform and get him ready for the big day. As a parent I’m so excited and proud for him because he will be joining his sister who is a prefect in Grade 7,” said Mzi Ngxito.

“My daughter was very excited because she is a very social child who loves to learn and play. I am proud of her and I’m here today to support her as any parent should. We are all here because we care about our children and want them to have a great future,” said Ntswaki Mokgethi.

“Today is much fun because I get to sit in class with other kids. My teacher’s name is Mrs Mokhele and she is very nice,” said 6-year-old Thandazo Matsuse.
“School is nice because my friends are here. I have my lunch box and I’m going to play at break time,” said 6-year-old Bokamoso Motale.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele
nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za