Lesotho needs better education data
Report calls for reforms to strengthen schooling
A new report has raised concerns about the ability of the Lesotho government to manage the data of the education sector, which it says is crucial for planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation purposes.
Produced by the African Governance Monitoring and Advocacy project (AfriMAP) and OSISA and launched by Lesotho’s Minister of Education, the report – entitled Lesotho: Effective Delivery of Public Services in Education – says that the Education Management Information System should be improved and widened to include coverage of tertiary institutions as well as learning centres that are not ‘registered’.
Otherwise, data that is collected will be irrelevant and inaccurate, impacting on planning, procurement and teacher training and management.
“There is no doubting the fact that Lesotho has placed a premium on education and because of this it has registered strong results within the sector,” said Ozias Tungwarara, Director of AfriMAP. “But it must now focus on its data gathering strategies and make them work better to maintain and build upon the strong foundation it has laid.”
Lesotho is in an enviable position, when it comes to education. Primary education is compulsory and free, while high literacy and enrolment indicate that the country will achieve the universal primary education and women empowerment goals set out in the MDGs.
However, this feat is not without problems, one of which is unique to Lesotho – namely that more boys are being left out of school than girls due to cultural and economic factors. Young men often drop out of school to seek work on South African mines or farms, while even younger boys often end up working as herd boys rather than attending class.
Enrolment rates also dipped at the peak of the HIV pandemic between 2000-2007, when many girls were forced to drop out to look after sick parents and their younger siblings.
But overall, Lesotho seems to have surpassed most international targets for accessing education. It now needs to focus on restructuring its strategy by embarking on a comprehensive census of schools and higher education institutions, which will assist policy makers to make the best decisions.
In addition, the report calls on the government to consider a Professional Code of Conduct for Teachers as well as teacher training – and to try and reduce the sector’s heavy dependence on donor funds.
Authored by Mamoeketsi Ntho, a researcher and lecturer in gender and development studies at the National University of Lesotho focuses on eight thematic areas:
- Lesotho’s state of education services;
- International and national legal frameworks;
- Information collection and management;
- Strategic planning;
- Budgeting and financial management;
- Human resources;
- External oversight mechanisms; and
- Donor relations.
It makes key recommendations in all thematic areas.