Hi-tech engineering school in Soweto
The Gauteng education department says it plans to open 18 skills-focused schools across the province by 2019.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the department intended opening one school a month, following the success of the first two schools and the planned launch of a third.
"We have demarcated Gauteng into five economic corridors with Johannesburg being the hub of information and communication technology, engineering and finance," Lesufi said.
Sedibeng was identified for water and water-related services, the West Rand for agriculture and tourism, Tshwane for public administration and automotive services and Ekurhuleni for manufacturing, logistics and freight.
"Curtis Nkondo School of Specialisation [in Soweto, Johannesburg] is our engineering school. We have put the engine of a helicopter [outside the school] so that pupils have a [practical] understanding [of engineering]."
The school, launched in May last year, is a "phased school", with only grades 8 to 10 on offer at the moment. It plans to offer matric to pupils by 2019.
"It's a model school for us because the qualifications of the teachers in the school are high. There is no teacher with a qualification lower than a degree.
"And it's a hi-tech school - every pupilhas a tablet, regardless of what grade, and every teacher has a laptop and a smart board in the classroom. We've also invested in laboratories."
Principal Lindiwe Ndzala said the school, which houses engineering workshop spaces, smartboards in each classroom and a computer laboratory, needs to be closely guarded against criminals.
Although the school's focus is on engineering, it offers commerce, mathematics and IT as areas of specialisation.
"Our Grade 8 and 9 learners are doing the same subjects done in other schools, but in Grade 10 all the pupils are registered for eight subjects, with each Grade 10 pupil doing IT as an additional subject."
Grade 10 is also the year in which pupils choose the stream in which they want to specialise.
Lesufi described the school as the department's ideal school but laments the cost.
"It's costly to build [and] it's costly to maintain .to rebuild that school cost around R80-million - it was an abandoned school."
The next speciality school will be opened in Magaliesburg later this month and will focus on agriculture and technology.