Spe­cial needs school opens in Gaut­eng

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Nosihle Shelembe

THE GAUT­ENG GOV­ERN­MENT is en­sur­ing that learn­ers with spe­cial needs can grow up to be­come pro­duc­tive mem­bers of so­ci­ety.

Gaut­eng Pre­mier David Makhura re­cently opened the Nokuthula Cen­tre and Spe­cial Needs School in Jo­han­nes­burg.

The multi-mil­lion rand state-of-the-art school forms part of 120 schools in Gaut­eng that cater for learn­ers with spe­cial needs.

“We re­main steely in our de­ter­mi­na­tion to build a qual­ity pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem that ben­e­fits all, re­gard­less of their cir­cum­stances. We are pro­mot­ing in­clu­sive ed­u­ca­tion,” said Pre­mier Makhura dur­ing the open­ing of the school.

“To­day we are mak­ing it pos­si­ble for an ad­di­tional 560 learn­ers with spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs to ac­cess qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and thus stand a bet­ter chance of par­tic­i­pat­ing fully in eco­nomic and so­cial life,” said Pre­mier Makhura.

The prov­ince has thus far re­fur­bished 13 schools suc­cess­fully, con­vert­ing them into proper spe­cial schools. Five more schools will be re­fur­bished in due course.

“In all of our spe­cial schools we have exit plans for our learn­ers. In terms of th­ese plans we are work­ing with par­ents, educators and learn­ers to de­velop a post-school ca­reer path for in­di­vid­ual learn­ers, tak­ing into ac­count their unique cir­cum­stances,” Pre­mier Makhura said.

He added that some of the learn­ers can be ac­com­mo­dated within the prov­ince’s flag­ship youth em­pow­er­ment ini­tia­tive, Tshepo 1 Mil­lion.

The prov­ince is us­ing the pro­gramme to break down bar­ri­ers for young peo­ple to ac­cess de­cent em­ploy­ment, skills de­vel­op­ment and entrepreneurial op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“The work we are do­ing to im­prove the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion of­fered to learn­ers with spe­cial needs forms part of the spe­cific in­ter­ven­tions we are mak­ing to im­prove ed­u­ca­tion out­comes in our prov­ince.

“Th­ese in­ter­ven­tions in­clude har­ness­ing In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nol­ogy (ICT) to pro­vide smart schools and class­rooms of the fu­ture, en­sur­ing uni­ver­sal ac­cess to Grade R, ex­pand­ing the post-ma­tric bur­sary scheme, es­tab­lish­ing schools of spe­cial­i­sa­tion and en­sur­ing that the per­for­mance gap be­tween learn­ers from fee-pay­ing and no-fee pay­ing schools is nar­rowed,” Pre­mier Makhura said.

Fo­cus on crime against chil­dren

Pre­mier Makhura is per­turbed and an­gered by the sex­ual ha­rass­ment, abuse, mo­lesta­tion and rape of girls in schools and wants the provin­cial po­lice com­mis­sioner to fo­cus on crimes against th­ese girls.

“I want to send a strong mes­sage to those in­volved that we are com­ing for them. We shall re­move them from the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and so­ci­ety by en­sur­ing that they are pros­e­cuted and sent to jail. They have hit us where it hurts most,” Pre­mier Makhura said.

He added that school gov­ern­ing bod­ies must hold all prin­ci­pals ac­count­able for what hap­pens in their schools.

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