In the latest bid to change the face of basic education in Gauteng, MEC of education Panyaza Lesufi launched an innovative aviation programme that will make mathematics and science fun again for over 400 Grade 5 pupils.
"When I shared this dream, I was told the education system is too rigid and not flexible enough to accommodate new ideas, therefore you can't change it.
"I am proud today that we have demonstrated to all those doubting us that we can change our schools to benefit our children," Lesufi told pupils and partners at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg on Friday.
More than 400 pupils at primary school level in the province will use science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to learn the principles of flight through the historic programme.
The programme, which will benefit pupils from Lyndhurst, Bovet, Halfway House, Mitaketa and Nokuphila primary schools, is a partnership between the Gauteng department of education and global Fortune 100 software industrial company Honeywell.
"The thought is to start with the primary school level to get them excited about maths and science from an early level before they reach high school.
"This is to inspire learners to have fun with maths and science, and we hope that this will change the perception of these subjects," head of transformation at Honeywell's Africa division Vivian Smith said.
The educational benefits do not stop with the pupils as one teacher from each of the chosen schools will be taken to the US for further training.
"This year we sent 13 young [children] to the US to participate hands-on in our programmes and we will also make an offer to one teacher from each school to go abroad and learn skills that they can bring back to schools," president of Honeywell Africa Sean Smith explained.
The programme is close to the Education MEC's heart as it advances his vision of creating education that will benefit all pupils despite their background.
"Four schools, rural and suburb, are all joined together and will be taught by the same teacher irrespective of race, colour and creed.
"When I tell society to remove these boundaries and allow our children to study under one group... you will see the real South Africa being born," Lesufi said.
The issue of unemployment has inspired the department to focus education on industries that are creating employment opportunities.
"You can't speak flying, engineering, aviation without Honeywell Africa. We do not want our children to graduate and be unemployed, we want them to be part of industries that are part of the economy," Lesufi added.
The MEC left the schoolchildren with an encouraging quote.
"Tears and sweat taste the same, both taste salty. However, with tears you get sympathy, with sweat you get results, best wishes," Lesufi told them.