May 2018 2nd Edition

Township schools get nuclear education

Written by More Matshediso
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the launch of nuclear technology schools of specialisation will contribute to the South African economy.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi at the launch of two Nuclear Technology Schools of Specialisation (SoS) in Atteridgeville in Tshwane.The Gauteng Department of Education has partnered with the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA) to launch two Nuclear Technology Schools of Specialisation (SoS) in Atteridgeville, Tshwane.

The SoS offer a highly specialised curriculum to nurture the development of top talent in maths, science and information communication technology in South Africa so that they can focus on nuclear technology and its applications.

A child from an SoS can look forward to multiple exit opportunities including joining the labour market, opening a business or furthering their studies.

The schools cater for learners from Saulsville and the informal settlements of Jeffsville, Brazzaville, Vergenoeg and Mshongoville.

Many of the learners from these areas are from poor households. Some are from child-headed households and others are taken care of by their grandparents because their parents are deceased or work far away from home.

 “Every morning many children leave their homes in the townships to attend schools in the suburbs as far as 20 kilometres away because township schools are perceived to be of poor quality and schools in the suburbs are considered synonymous with excellence in education,” MEC Lesufi said.

To address this challenge the department has put a programme and strategy in place to reorganise schools particularly those in townships.

“We are investing millions to change the quality of education in townships and turn around historic labour reservoirs into zones of hope, development and transformation,” he said.

NECSA chief executive officer Phumzile Tshelane said he is ecstatic with the nuclear SoS project.

“The department established the concept of specialised schools by benchmarking the skills development practices in other countries. This concept aims to create and implement a curriculum that is industry specific hence the partnership with NECSA,” he said.

He explained that the launch is a pilot project which will include two community specialised schools, Phelindaba Secondary School and Edward Phathudi Secondary School.

The project twins an under-resourced school with a resourced school to create a SoS that focuses on nuclear technology and its applications.

SoS will be defined as a catalyst by many enthusiasts who want to learn more about nuclear applications in the medical, agriculture, automotive, aviation and mining sectors.  

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