Mmegi Online :: Cde Pat - an educationist par-excellence – BNF
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Friday 16 November 2018, 13:42 pm.
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Cde Pat - an educationist par-excellence – BNF

The Botswana National Front (BNF) President Duma Boko will be officiating at Patrick Van Rensburg memorial service in Serowe at Swaneng Hill School this coming Saturday morning. The BNF members are encouraged to attend in large numbers donning party colours to celebrate this priceless legendary and renowned educationist par-excellence icon.
By Justin Hunyepa Fri 23 Jun 2017, 06:00 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Cde Pat - an educationist par-excellence – BNF








Van Rensburg was born in South Africa, Durban on the 3rd December 1931 and died on the 23rd May 2017 in Botswana, Serowe. A man of social justice and an anti-apartheid activist, he fled from the apartheid regime and settled in Botswana, Serowe in 1962, where his unique educational journey began. He was the founder of schools like Swaneng Hill School, Shashe River School in Tonota and Madiba Senior School in Mahalapye.

He also pioneered the brigade movement in Botswana, starting with Tshwaragano Brigade in Serowe, then Shashe, Madiba and ultimately country wide. These initiatives created thousands of jobs and skilled personnel in Botswana then. He also started several other successful community projects in Serowe.

Van Rensburg ultimately joined the BNF, a move that infuriated the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as they felt he will turn around the political fortunes of the BNF. He has served as Secretary for Political Education. Van Rensburg’s political involvement with the opposition BNF led to the BDP government to blacklist him and undermine his result-oriented EWP projects which have since been embraced by the neighbouring South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The government did not only abandon his creative and well thought out initiatives, but also did not even recognise his efforts. In 1981, he was however awarded for the EWP projects the Right Livelihood Award to “honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today” by a Swedish based organisation. His contribution qualified him for several national awards.

As an educationist, his footprint is pronounced and indelible in BNF documents like Pamphlet number 1, the Social Democratic Programme (SDP), The Manifestoes, etc. The documents

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state that “The guiding principle in primary, secondary, vocational and university education shall be that of EDUCATION WITH PRODUCTION (EWP). BNF believes that it is the production process, rather than passive acquisition of knowledge, that develops a human being mentally, physically, spiritually and socially.

EDUCATION WITH PRODUCTION encourages human creativity, respect for labour and will reduce unemployment problem by producing self-employed artisans, tradesmen, mechanics, electricians, bricklayers, etc. In its effort to develop education policy for sustained socio-economic development, the BNF government shall institute a comprehensive, scientific, technological and cultural policy to increase the productivity and contribution of this sector to the society”.

Currently the Botswana education system at all levels is in a horrible mess as the BDP led government has failed to implement the 1994 Revised National Policy on Education which had “borrowed” a leaf from Van Rensburg EWP but failed to implement it. There have been massive failures and thousands of youth are jobless, due to the sick, auto-pilot education system. The Ministry of Education and Skills Development is now experimenting the European Union sponsored Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSSP).

The BNF today still holds on to his philosophy of EWP as the party believes this is the only way to solving the high unemployment rate, poverty, etc as the program produces self reliant artisans and other professionals. As the educational colossus rests in peace, his EWP is still alive and relevant, waiting for a new government in 2019 to implement it.

We wish the great man of education eternal rest and peace. May the Patrick Van Rensburg family members remain blessed as we celebrate his life.

Justin Hunyepa

BNF Information and Publicity Secretary

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