Hazyview - Mpumalanga MEC for Education, Reginah Mhaule, has urged parents to take a direct interest in their children's education.
Mhaule visited Magashule Primary School and Shanke Secondary School in Oakley trust in Bushbuckridge on Wednesday to mark the start of the 2010 school year.
"Parents please take an interest in your children's education. The education of children is a collaborative endeavour, and it therefore requires all of us to rally side by side to attain a positive outcome," she said.
Mhaule said the early distribution of stationery would enable teachers and learners to "get straight to the business of teaching and learning" on their first day.
She promised that the department would do everything possible to ensure that the school year proceeded smoothly.
"I want to assure the provincial community that we will do everything we can to free our schools from underperformance and dysfunctionality," she said.
Mhaule said she was impressed by the mood among teachers and pupils at the two schools.
"I am excited by the high level of enthusiasm from teachers and learners alike. If the positive energy that I saw today can be sustained, there will be good things to come from our schools," said Mhaule.
Magashule Primary School's acting deputy principal, Anastacia Magagula, said the school was proud to have been the first school visited by Mhaule.
"It feels good that on our first day at school the MEC came and prayed with us. She also motivated the pupils when she told them that she used to teach at this very school in the 1980s," said Magagula.
Shanke High School's principal, Henry Dube, said the visit had been an inspiration because it was the first time that such high-profile people had come to the school.
He said the school was proud of the fact that the Deputy Minister of Communications, Dina Pule, matriculated at the school in 1984.