The Nokuthula LSEN School valued at R300 million was unveiled on Tuesday by Gauteng Premier David Makhura, MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi and MEC for Infrastructure Development Jacob Mamabolo in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg.
“Today is confirmation of transformation, our children with disabilities are first class citizens. They need not to be hidden in the backyards,” Lesufi said.
The school, which was build to withstand severe weather, will officially open to learners from 2018. Lesufi said therapists and doctors would be available on the facility 24 hours to ensure that the children were appropriately cared for.
Nokuthula LSEN will cater for learners with severe intellectual disabilities, severe to profound intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder as well as those with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. Learners will have access to the General Certificate of Education: Technical Occupational Curriculum.
There are 120 special needs schools in South Africa that cater for children with such disabilities.
Makhura said Nokuthula LSEN School will educate 560 learners, with 80 accommodated at the school’s boarding facility.
“To all special needs learners don’t be disabled in your ambition and intellect, you must think big,” encouraged the premier.
“We have enrolled around 4,000 learners in special needs schools around the province.”
Makhura said that with early detection, special needs children were given the opportunity to learn and not be frustrated by being at schools that were not equipped to assist with their needs.
Touching on the matter of sexual abuse of schoolchildren, Makhura said: “There is Satan in our schools, the scourge of sexual assault of our children. Schools are meant to be sacred place. There must be no excuse for principals not reporting crimes against learners.”