Molomo calls for reforms to the Education System

- Christian missionaries encouraged locals to be educated

- Lauds Van Rensburg for Education with Production

The Former Education Minister Matlapeng Ray Molomo has called for reforms to the Education system saying that the Ministry of Education and Skills Development(MoESD) should be divided into two because it was currently too big and unwieldly for 1 individual to manage.

He also called for the development of streaming so that children could develop aptitudes for technical and scientific fields during a session to celebrate 50 years of independence at the Botswana Qualifications Authority(BQA) Friday at its offices in Block 7.

"We should use appropriate instruments to determine if they should go into science, technical or arts fields like they do in the US and the UK," observed Molomo. He said, "For instance, what you need for engineering is only functional English."

Molom stressed that the Education system should be both relevant and flexible lamenting that although Botswana for a long time produced diamonds, which were a mainstay of the economy it took a very long time for Botswana to start producing students trained as geologists.

He maintained that you cannot go for a job interview and say that I have a degree in English and expect to get a job. "You need a specific skill," stressed Molomo.

Molomo revealed that Dr Gaositwe Chiepe, who became Botswana's first woman Cabinet Minister in 1974 was the female science graduate in Botswana. He also lauded the efforts of Educationist Patrick Van Rensburg saying he was instrumental in promoting the idea of education with production.

"It was a new thing. It was not acceptable to the politicians. He however succeeded. I am not sure how practicable it was though. It was however a very important philosophy," observed Molomo.
He said Batswana believed that if you went to school and got educated you would be like the whites and so working with your hands like miners and dirtying yourself did not appeal too many Batswana, who saw this is a form of menial and degrading labour.

'He focused on community brigades. Those who failed standard 6 and 7 went to Brigades. It was socially disapproved off," said Molomo. He said, "This is where we missed the point."
Molomo reflected that in the 1930's and 1940's when he grew up it were the missionaries who served as secretaries for various mission school Boards who encouraged locals to get educated. Molomo who worked for a short stint as a teacher in Rhodesia said teachers were paid by their tribes.

The result was that an administration like Nwgato paid teachers more than the smaller tribes and attracted better qualified teachers.


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