The Department of Science and Technology Deputy Director-General, Dr Wendy Ngoma, has encouraged learners to study maths and science to help the country respond to the challenges of economic growth and fighting poverty.
"I encourage each and every one of you to continue studying maths and science, because you are the generation that will take us even further in combating poverty and employment," Dr Ngoma said.
She addressed over 200 learners at the ArcelorMittal Science Centre in the Vaal on Friday to promote the value of science and technology in society.
She told learners to focus on their studies so they can become scientists, researchers, engineers and inventors.
"Maths and science takes focus, even if you're one of the clever ones. I can reassure you that many 'average' people have gone far in these fields through determination and hard work.
"All you need is the passion to learn more about the world you live in," Dr Ngoma said.
She said South Africa has positioned itself as one of the leading nations in the world in the areas of science, technology and innovation.
"We are one of the few developing countries to have established a government department focused specifically on science and technology, and we have introduced a number of excellent policies to guide and give structure to our National System of Innovation," she said.
As part of strategies to help the country meet the objectives set out in the National Development Plan, South Africa is focusing on developing a knowledge based economy, which thrives on innovation through research and science.
Producing learners who are knowledgeable in maths and science and funding studies in these fields is one of the ways South Africa can ensure it remains globally competitive.