The Gauteng Department of Education today launched the Schools of Specialisation (SoS) programme with the aim of using ICT to hone skills in particular subjects and contribute positively to the province’s economy.

The programme is being carried out in partnership with the Information Technology Association of South Africa (ITA), with support from SAP and the Sci-Bone Discovery Centre.

Schools chosen for SoS will be equipped with ICT hardware and bandwidth, while new purpose built schools will have teachers and facilities specially allocated to the specific subjects.

The new schools will operate differently in terms of funding and other resources, learner selection, teacher recruitment and training, support and development.

SoS is part of the department’s Reorganisation of Schools programme which takes its lead from the National Development plan.¬†SoS will focus on maths, science, engineering, commerce, entrepreneurship, sports, arts and culture.

The department hopes that by honing skills in these areas, it will be able to transform schools in Gauteng and help grow the skills base needed for economic growth.

MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi emphasised that Gauteng is moving away from steel and gold as its main economic strongholds and start focusing on more current industries such as finance, pharmaceuticals, rail, ICT and sports and recreation.

The education department plans for teaching, learning and school management to rely increasingly on ICT resources and is calling on stakeholders in the sector to partner with it to support SoS.

SoS schools will also be tasked with identifying and developing learners who show potential and talent in the chosen subjects.

“These schools will represent the pinnacle of education in Gauteng, but the benefits will be felt throughout the province as new teaching methods and better facilities are rolled out as part of the MEC’s plan to transform education,” ITA said in a statement.

Sicelo Dlamini Secondary School in Emndeni, which will be opened in April, Soweto has been identified as the first school part of SoS.

[Image –¬†Gauteng Department of Education]