The Gauteng government has made strides in accommodating pupils with special educational needs by building eight special schools in the townships.
Premier David Makhura said the eight schools were currently functional, adding the government would open a further eight such schools later this year. Makhura said the government was also establishing schools of specialisation to strengthen its skills base, especially in critical areas such as commerce, maths, science and technology.
“In the coming months, we will launch a school of specialisation in Emndeni in Soweto,” said Makhura. The government is spending more than R560 million on bursaries, learnerships and internships to equip the youth with the necessary skills and work experience.
“This will increase to R1 billion over the next two years,” he said. Gauteng municipalities were presently spending close to R30 million contributing to the education of children from poor households, said Makhura. He stressed education remains the backbone of radical social-economic transformation and that a nation that neglects education, neglects its future.
The Gauteng government is progressing with the further rollout of smart schools in the province. In 2014 they introduced the Classroom of the Future and last year the province had seven schools connected to the e-learning platform.
“We now have 1 861 grade 12 classrooms, 3 098 grade 11 classrooms and 42 schools connected to the e-learning system.” The premier said at the Protea Glen Secondary School and the Chief Albert Luthuli Primary School he witnessed firsthand how ICT has transformed both the learning experience of children and the teaching experience for teachers.
Teachers at the school said kids now arrive very early and stay much longer after school due to the increased level of interest generated by self-learning through the tablets government provided.