17 August 2017

South Africa: Special Needs School Receives Learning Aides

Learning and teaching will be much easier for learners, some of whom cannot hear or speak, at the Tembaletu School, in Gugulethu, thanks to the donation of hi-tech learning and communication aides.

Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, returned to the Tembaletu School for Learners with Special Needs and Physical Disability in Gugulethu on Thursday, to handover learning aides.

The Minister's visit was part of the government's Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring (FSDM), a unit of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) that conducts visits to government facilities periodically to ensure that government frontline services yield demonstrable results.

"It is very pleasing that government has come to the party. As you can see, this Tembaletu School is a school of special needs so as a caring government, as the President always say that education is an apex priority. So we need to ensure that we build the future of our children and that we start now.

"So the donation that we are making today is very significant because it will provide them with the communication aides and learning aides as well as sporting equipment to ensure that our children can be properly nurtured to become worthy citizens of the country," he said.

The handover comes after Minister Radebe went to the school in February on a surprise visit to assess its needs and challenges.

Tembalethu was established in 1974 as a day-care centre to cater for marginalised disabled children. The school started with only five learners and to date it has grown to accommodate over 198 learners.

However, the Minister said, while addressing learners and parents prior to the handover, that the apartheid government did not direct resources to the school despite its dire needs. It was only in 1996, under the democratic government, that the school was taken over by the Western Cape Department of Education.

"It is through education that the poor can transform into becoming significant players in the country's economy.

"As this is a special school, the learners obviously require special educational and therapeutic support.

"This also restricts their inclusion in regular schools and opportunities to participate in some sporting codes.

"Despite these factors, it was exciting to note that the school offers a number of sporting codes even though there are limited funds and facilities. I committed that I will do my best to assist wherever I can," he said.

Veronica Gavu, the school's acting Principal, welcomed the donations, and said they will go a long way in providing a conducive learning environment for learners.

"We as the school are overwhelmed. We are happy to receive this equipment. It means that our [teachers] wont struggle in preparing the learners to get the skills they need.

"Our challenges here as you know, Tembaletu is a school that has children with dynamic special needs. Our children are not the same. Some of our learners can be able to talk, can walk, some of them are unable to talk.

"To assist those that are unable to talk, we will need the high technology material or equipment to assist them so that they can be able to access their learning. By getting this equipment... it means that those learners who are severely disabled will be able to learn like the other learners," she said.

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