President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the education sector to ensure children excel in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics - otherwise known as STEAM.
"As we mark 25 years of democracy, our actions will continue to be anchored on our recognition of education as a key driver of fair and sustainable development.
"Working together, we must strive to ensure that our children excel from an early age in STEAM," he said during the Education Lekgotla at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg on Monday.
Ramaphosa said this would ensure that learners, from an early age, meet the international standards prescribed as minimum benchmarks for reading comprehension, mathematics and science.
The president shared these sentiments at the third annual Basic Education Lekgotla taking place in Ekurhuleni,
Among those taking part in the three-day national event are provincial departments, unions, school governing bodies, learner organisations, NGOs, and academics.
Delegates are expected to discuss and agree on the steps to be taken in 2019 to make basic education more effective and efficient.
"Without quality basic education, our country cannot grow and develop, we cannot redress the injustices of the past, and we cannot build a socially cohesive nation," Ramphosa said.
Despite these challenges, Ramaphosa noted improvements after the class of 2018 achieved 78.2%, which is the highest national pass rate recorded.
"One reason why we are excited about the general upward trend in our Grade 12 results is that we know this is a manifestation of improvements occurring at all levels of the schooling system," he further explained.
Ramaphosa also highlighted the important role that parents and school management need to collectively play in creating a functional leadership in order to provide a successful journey of learning for children.
"With visionary leadership, we will succeed and our education system will achieve its intended objectives, and more learners will complete their entire period of schooling," he said.