Randfontein’s Phahama joins list of Gauteng specialisation schools

The Phahama Maths, Science and ICT School of Specialisation with a focus in mining has joined the list of top-performing schools aimed at granting pupils an access to education focused on enhancing special skills.

The school, based in the small township of Mohlakeng in Randfontein, west of Johannesburg, was chosen for its exceptional performance, qualifying it to be one of the 36 schools that the Gauteng department of education aims to transform by the end of 2023/2024 financial year.

The school’s excited principal, Sandile Siko, said this was an opportunity for pupils to start their journey of becoming specialists in various fields and to explore various careers in the  mining industry.

He said they anticipated a challenge of adjusting to a school of specialisation, but were ready to face the challenge head-on and adapt to changes as professionals.

“As a former learner of the school myself, during our days, we never had such opportunities, so it is indeed a proud moment for me personally because this will encourage a good performance for the school moving forward. Our main aim is to achieve a 95% pass rate this year, which will be a stepping stone towards the 100% performance moving forward,” said Siko.

He said the school has attained over 90% pass rate during his reign as principal, but only dropped between 72% and 89% during the Covid-19 years, ‪2020-2022.

“I’m looking forward to the launch and all else will be realised after then. All in all, many of us are still in anxious moments. I feel extremely excited as the principal to lead this exciting project, and the team is working tirelessly to make it worth our while,” said Siko.

Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson, Steve Mabona, said the department aimed to produce learners who are equipped to be able to cope at higher institutions, employable on entry-level or artisan jobs, or create employment opportunities.

He said employment was a skill for all learners and schools of specialisation, while other soft skills included decision-making and critical thinking. Technical skills would be plumbing and welding.

Mabona explained that the department has introduced five disciplines that they aim to share amongst the schools by the end of the 2023/2024 financial year. These include Maths, Science and ICT; Commerce and Entrepreneurship; Engineering; Performing and Creative Arts; and Sports. These are introduced across the five economic development corridors.

This was a move to ensure that public schools equally offered skills that would brighten the future of learners.

Mabona said the shortage of skills will be addressed based on the location of the schools, and the department is dedicated to helping learners to do well, both academically and in acquiring selection of skills with the help of the private sector.

“The main objectives of establishing Schools of Specialisation is to respond to the transformation, re-industrialisation, and modernising the Gauteng Education Department schools. This meant changing the ‘shape’ of the schools to ensure that they service the skills shortages within the economic development corridors where the schools reside.

“It is also important to revitalise the township economy and service in townships, informal settlements and hostels,” said Mabona.

Last week, the department launched Letsibogo Girls Maths, Science & ICT School of Specialisation with focus on Media and Communication – in Meadowlands, Soweto.

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