Gauteng high school learners, who have just completed their exams, are in for a treat this year as they get a chance to tour the Johannesburg Zoo, Gold Reef City and other exciting heritage sites for free.
Through the Gauteng Department of Education's "Know your province" campaign, learners will be exposed to various places of interest in the province.
"The Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG), through the Social Cluster Departments, has organised activities for youth during the holiday period.
"The cluster has appointed facilitators, caregivers and site managers for the School Holiday Programme, which will run for the first week of December from 4- 8 December 2017," the department said.
Learners will be transported to various heritage sites such as Freedom Park, Constitutional Hill and Maropeng, among others, as part of the programme.
The programme aims to deter learners from engaging in destructive farewell parties.
"We call upon [learners] to remain focused and to abstain from participating in pens down parties, as these parties often lead to tragic incidents," said Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
Pens down parties are events where learners, especially Grade 12 learners, celebrate the end of exams.
The department pleaded with parents and community members to discourage these activities, as they have the potential to rob learners of their future.
"There are people who lost everything because of these activities, hence the warning to our children. Equally, our children need to know that there are more important things in life and consequences of such practices are sometimes to their detriment.
"All sorts of ungodly activities are done at such events, including indulging in drugs, unprotected sex and tearing of school uniform -- something that needs to be condemned in all fronts," said MEC Lesufi.
Instead of engaging in such behaviour, learners are instead encouraged to donate their school uniform to their respective schools, which would be used by those who may need it most.
Moreover, the department appealed to owners of liquor stores and taverns to make it their responsibility not to sell alcohol to learners.
The department called on parents to be alert and monitor the movement of their children and discourage them from potentially harmful behaviour upon completion of their exams.