During the early years of independence between 1977 and 1994 great progress was made in building schools, training centres, localising primary school examinations, and creating new high schools and colleges of education.
Between 1977 and 1986 the number of primary school children increased from 33 579 to 350 723, while teachers increased from 5 606 to 8 153 — dropping the teacher: learners ratio from 60:1 to 40:1.
The introduction of early childhood education heralded a new era in teaching the young, and by 1985 there were 272 Early Learning Centres catering for 21 283 children.
State-of the-art Resources Centres, fully equipped with Learning Aids aimed at enhancing ECC were built in Mabopane, Mafikeng, Madikwe and Kudumane.
Education for the physically handicapped received attention and blind, deaf and crippled children were provided with learning facilities.
The number of adult education centres rose from one in 1976 to 173 in 1983 with the number of adult educators and students increasing significantly.
Also from Kgosi Mangope’s dream grew the University of Bophuthatswana, now called the University of the North West.
Five colleges of education were affiliated to the university, as well as the Institute of African Studies and the Institute of Development Research.
The Department of Manpower was, among others, responsible for technical education. Formal training centres, called Manpower Centres, were put in place where modular training with certification and institutionalised apprentice training took place.
These Manpower Centres aimed at offering post-school vocational education and training, not only to apprentices and to tradesmen, but also to school leavers and adults who needed to be taught a skill.
Before 1977 when Sun International opened Mmabatho Sun, the people of Bophuthatswana had no formal training in the hotel industry. Hotel schools were established to train waiters, barmen and chefs, and also offered management development courses.