By Kgothatso Monono

Adoptee of the Tshwane University of Technology’s Faculty of Information and Communication Technology (FoICT), the Sikhululekile Secondary School in Temba, Hammanskraal, was formally renamed Sikhululekile Maths, Science & ICT School of Specialisation on 8 February 2024. FoICT adopted the school to assist them with ICT training, equipment and projects, after the announcement that the school was earmarked to become a school of specialisation in maths, science and ICT and that it would be the only ICT specialisation school in Tshwane North.

Gauteng Education MEC, Matome Chiloane, attended the launch of this pioneering initiative that signals a commitment to providing learners with a tailored and advanced educational experience in the ever-evolving field of ICT.

MEC Chiloane said schools of specialisation are revolutionary and ground-breaking programmes of the Department of Education. “We are making good progress in educating children to have much-needed skills for the future. Through our schools of specialisation, learners get workplace exposure and career guidance in their chosen fields, while we prepare them for the transition to pursue higher education and training. Learners in our schools of specialisation also have the added advantage of being exposed to the outside world through project-based learning. They really thrive and demonstrates daily how smart they are,” he added.

Gauteng MEC for Education Matome Chiloane giving his address note.

The learners from Sikhululekile school of specialisation showcasing their projects to the MEC

Daphney Chuene, the Principal of Sikhululekile Maths, Science and ICT School of Specialisation explained that the school will focus on Research and Innovation, while the curricula are designed to include both theoretical concepts and practical skills development. “This involves a mix of classroom instruction, laboratory sessions, projects and internships. For instance, last year, our learners had an opportunity to learn from TUT academic staff and students in one of the Faculty of ICT laboratories. During these sessions they were exposed to theoretical concepts and given opportunities for hands-on practical application.”

“Whilst preparing for the launch, learners had to create a project that addresses a challenge experienced at school. They opted to create a website which can be used to communicate directly with parents. It included a chat bot to respond to the frequently asked questions about the school and curriculum offered. The website will give learners the ability to catch up and communicate with teachers if they are absent or falling behind,” she added.

To ensure the programme’s success Sikhululelike has partnered with the CSIR and FoICT’s Social Coding, while the Department of Basic Education at provincial level aids with the introduction of CAT and IT subjects, which are already CAPS-aligned, at the school. Hence, the curriculum is already tailored and quality assured to be understood by learners at secondary school level.

Thom Leholo, Academic Technician from the Department of Computer Systems Engineering supervised the development of the ICT projects for the launch event. “The aim is to equip Sikhululekile SOS learners with skills and knowledge they will require to thrive in an increasingly digital and technology-driven world. In addition, we want to expose them to the fascinating world of ICT. The project emphasizes the importance of digital literacy skills, including the ability to critically evaluate online information, distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources and to protect personal data and privacy online,” he said 

The official launch of the School of Soecialisation by the Gauteng MEC for Education Matome Chiloane

Learners from Sikhululekile school of specialisation

Dr Etienne van Wyk, Executive Dean of FoICT, said after the launch learners will continue to engage in innovation projects at the school and at the faculty’s labs. “Adopting the school as a community engagement project, the Faculty provides a gateway to a transformative educational journey, unlocking opportunities for staff and learners. Together, we pave the way for a symbiotic relationship that enhances the school's ICT curriculum, fosters innovation, empowers learners with cutting-edge skills and prepares them to excel in the ever-evolving digital landscape.”

He added that this collaboration demonstrates a shared commitment to excellence, driving forward the next generation of tech-savvy leaders while ensuring a dynamic and enriched educational experience for all. 

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