By – SAnews.gov.za
Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the province has 120 schools that caters 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,” Premier Makhura said.
He was speaking on Tuesday at the opening of state-of-the-art Nokuthula School for learners with special educational needs.
“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 to participate fully in economic and social life,” Premier Makhura said.
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 our special schools we do have exit plans for our learners. In terms of these plans we are working with parents, the educators and the leaners themselves to develop a post-school career path for individual leaners taking into account their unique circumstances,” Premier Makhura said.
He said 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 the universal access of 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
He said he was perturbed and angered by the sexual, harassment, abuse, molestation and rape of girl learners in schools.
Premier Makhura said he wants the Provincial Police Commissioner to focus on the crimes against girl children.
“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 said the Schools Governing Bodies (SGBs) must hold all principals accountable for what happens in their schools.
“I want MEC Panyaza Lesufi and [Gauteng Education] Head of Department…to ensure that all teachers and staff involved must be fired! Let us join hands to make our schools safe for all our children, especially the girl learners,” Premier Makhura said.