Gauteng education opens STEM-focused schools

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The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), which champions skills development and ICT adoption in schools in the province, on Friday unveiled two high schools of specialisation: St Barnabas and UJ Metropolitan Mathematics.

The schools will focus on high-tech and innovation, as the GDE furthers uptake of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and ICT subjects among learners. 

Government and industry have stressed the importance of equipping young people, especially girl-children, with relevant skills to compete in the field of STEM.

According to the GDE, schools of specialisation offer a highly specialised curriculum and seek to nurture the development of top talent in South Africa across key disciplines.

The department further believes these schools will assist in addressing skills shortages in Gauteng by creating skilled labour for the economy that will respond to the transformation, modernisation and re-industrialisation strategy of the Gauteng city region.

In a statement, the department says St Barnabas and UJ Metropolitan are mathematics, science and ICT schools of specialisation, with a series of courses in basic IT literacy, computer programming and robotics.

The GDE has also partnered with Honeywell to see 197 grade eight learners from both schools enrol at Melisizwe Computer Lab Project for an educational course focused on software programming and other ICT skills.

“Through these partnerships and the initiatives with Honeywell, Melisizwe and University of Johannesburg, we are igniting a new level of hunger for learning about STEM and commit to helping our learners progress successfully through school,” says Panyaza Lesufi, Gauteng MEC for education and youth development.

“This will enable learners opportunities to build exciting technology and science-focused careers in the future, making a positive impact in our country and the world we live in.”

Sean Smith, Honeywell Africa president, adds: “Industry 4.0 is shaping the future of how the world works and Honeywell’s innovations sit right at the forefront of this revolution.

“By investing in courses such as the Melisizwe Computer Lab Project, we are ensuring young people in South Africa have the best possible start to their future technology careers so that they too can go on to help shape the way the world works through innovation.”

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