It was back to business as the Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Mr Enver Surty, visited schools in the Free State and North West province to mark the start of the 2013 school year.
Deputy Minister Surty visited Mogale High School and Laerskool Brits in the Bojanala District of the North West on Wednesday, 9 January to ensure that preparations for the first day of school were in order and to meet with School Management Teams to discuss operations at their institutions.
At Mogale High School, Deputy Minister Surty said that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) had decided to visit the school to get to the bottom of the decline in performance over the recent years.
"I believe that even in the difficult circumstances you are facing here, the school can make improvements if learners put their minds to it and show commitment to improving results," said Deputy Minister Surty. "You have to believe in yourselves and we will be there to provide all the necessary support."
The Deputy Minister assured learners and educators at the school that he would be monitoring the schools progress through the district director, making it clear that the school would become a priority for the department in the area.
Deputy Minister Surty also visited Kgola Thuto Senior Secondary, Shakane Senior Secondary and Mafube Intermediate School in the Thabo Mofutsanyane district of the Free State.
At Kgola Thuto, the Deputy Minister praised the learners and the school management team for the hard work which saw the school achieving a matric pass rate of 95.2% in the 2012 NSC exams.
The school, which forms part of the Department of Basic Education's Dinaledi Schools Programme, has consistently been amongst the top performing schools in the province.
Said Deputy Minister Surty: "I am honoured and inspired to be here with you learners today. I could not come to the Free State without visiting this school to thank and commend you for your wonderful achievements."
Kgola Thuto has consistently been amongst the top performing schools in the country over the past nine years. The chess team has represented the country abroad while the choir regularly takes part in the South African Choral Eisteddford (organised by the DBE).
Deputy Minister Surty noted that it was encouraging to see that the learners at Kgola Thuto had not let their circumstances stand in the way of them doing their best.
"Your story is the story of our democracy and your achievement is the achievement of the nation," the Deputy Minister stated. "You have excelled academically, culturally and in the arts. To the new learners, who have just joined the school, you are joining a family that takes pride in its achievements and I look forward to returning to this school next year, when the Grade 12s achieve a 100% pass rate!" Deputy Minister Surty concluded.