Poor attendance, walk-ins, last minute cleaning and teacher shortages delayed teaching at many township schools in Port Elizabeth with many pupils roaming the streets and sitting in class with nothing to do.
Principals have expressed their dissatisfaction with parents who have left registration until the last minute describing the delay as an unnecessary frustration.
Reception areas at several primary and high schools were packed with parents who were yet to fill in enrolment forms.
Kwamagxaki High School principal Mwezi Qomfo, said the late registration caused a major delay.
“We were hoping we would be done with registration last year but parents are still coming in with learners who need to be accommodated. This is causing a delay because we distributed stationery yesterday in the hope that we would start teaching today but it looks unlikely as we have to deal with admissions,” Qomfo said
Across town in Greenbushes, there was no first day of school for about 1 000 pupils after their transport failed to pitch.
The pupils – from the Kuyga community in Greenbushes – attend the Yellow Woods, Island Reserve, Colleen Glen and Van Stadens schools.
Angry residents vowed to march to the department in search of a solution with one threatening more action if their demands were not met.
Meanwhile in the northern areas, some pupils at Bertram High School who were still sporting holiday haircuts – a line shaved into their hair – tried to dover up with shoe polish after being told to go home to “sort out” their hair.
At Booysen Park High, Grade 8 pupils were lectured about work ethic and discipline.
Grade 1 pupils at Clarendon Primary School in Walmer were busy colouring in and developing number skills while their counterparts at Summerwood in Summerstrand began the day by drawing a picture of themselves in their workbooks.
Parsons Hill Primary Grade 1 teacher Samantha Hooker said the morning had run smoothly and all her new pupils had arrived for class.
“It’s great to see they are all here and that everything ran relatively smooth,” she said.