Children living with disabilities in Alexandra will now have easier access to schooling.
On Tuesday, the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) officially opened the state-of-the-art Nokuthula LSEN School in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg.
During his keynote address at the unveiling, Gauteng Premier David Makhura commended both Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi and Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development Jacob Mamabolo for the work they’ve done “to deliver this service to the public”.
Makhura said children with special needs should not be discriminated against and called names.
He also encouraged learners not to be “disabled in spirit”.
Speaking at the opening, Lesufi said children with special needs used to be on a waiting list for about 5 years but this has now been reduced to 18 months.
Earlier this year, Sonja Boshoff, a Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament revealed that the number of children with special needs who were on the waiting list had increased from 9 323 learners in 2013/2014 to 9 606 in the 2015/16 financial year.
She said that 3 244 learners with special needs were without school places in the Eastern Cape, followed by Gauteng which had a waiting list of 1 785.
Lesufi has since committed himself to ensuring special needs learners are not left behind.
On Tuesday morning, Lesufi said the R250 million school is adaptable and was built to take into account different weather conditions.
The school boasts unique features including Wi-Fi, smart classrooms, a swimming pool and sports grounds.
The school was built to provide primary support to children living with severe intellectual disabilities, severe to profound intellectual disabilities, learners with autism spectrum disorder and mild to moderate intellectual disabilities.
The school will cater for 560 learners, with 80 accommodated within the school premises.