NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF LESOTHO

×

Warning

JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 355

Speech by Minister of Education and Training Launch of NUL Schools Partnership in Research

 

His Majesty King Letsie III

The Right Hon. the Prime Minister

The Deputy Prime Minister

Cabinet Ministers here present

Government Secretary

Principal Secretaries

Senior Officials here present

The Private Sectors represented

Hon. Council Members

University Management

Members of the media

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Programme Director,

 

It is a pleasure to address you today on an occasion that lays a cornerstone for partnership in education research.  Lesotho became a Member State of UNESCO on 29th September, 1967.  UNESCO is a specialised agency of the United Nations mandated with contributing to the building of peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science, culture and communication. Established on 24 October, 1945 by 51 countries (founder member states), UNESCO now has 192 Member states. 

In 1990, delegates from 155 countries, as well as representatives from some 150 governmental and non-governmental organizations, agreed at the World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien, Thailand (5-9 March 1990) to make primary education accessible to all children and to massively reduce illiteracy before the end of the decade.   This is when  the World Declaration on Education for All, was adopted  reaffirming the notion of education as a fundamental human right  and  countries were urged to intensify efforts to address the basic learning needs for all as described in the Six EFA Goals.

 

 In 2000, the Government of Lesotho together with other governments of the world adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).   These are the two most important frameworks in the field of education. The education priorities of UNESCO are shaped by these objectives.  The two sets of goals offer a long term vision of reduced poverty and hunger, better health and education, sustainable lifestyles, strong partnerships and shared commitments.  The ultimate aim of EFA is sustainable development while the MDGs have galvanised unmatched efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.

 

As a lead agency in charge of coordinating the multiple partners in the EFA Movement, UNESCO monitors global progress towards the six EFA goals in particular by publishing an annual EFA Global Monitoring Report that tracks the achievements of countries and the international community.

 

As we all know, Lesotho has made significant progress in increasing access to education, particularly at the basic education level.  In 2009 the primary net enrolment was 80.9 % and the literacy rate for people under the age of 25 was almost 100 %.  Few countries are on track in achieving the education-related MDG goals while Lesotho has achieved two.  It is also on track regarding most of the EFA goals.  In terms of adhering to international benchmarks of financing education, Lesotho has gone beyond the set target. 

 

However, despite these successes, Lesotho is behind in the achievement EFA Goal 6: “Improve the quality of education”. The low quality of education delivered in schools at both primary and secondary levels is a great concern to the government of Lesotho. In response to this situation a nation-wide survey commissioned by the Ministry of Education, was undertaken in 2005, in collaboration with the National University of Lesotho.  This study investigated factors that contributed to the perennial poor performance of learners in English, Sesotho, Mathematics and Science at primary and secondary levels. The contributing factors included;

 

Inadequate continuous in-service training and professional development of teachers in schools

Weak administration and instructional support at school level through regular inspections.

 

 The findings of this study were further validated by the Training Needs and Assessment Study that was conducted in 2013, through the leadership of the National University of Lesotho researchers. This study further confirmed that mathematics and science teachers lacked desired sustainable professional development support and that there is often paucity of research-based knowledge to inform the teaching and learning. Based on these two major studies, the relevance of the formation of this University-Schools Partnership is premised on these country-specific studies.

 

It is our hope that the partnership will truly be a sustainable one, and that it will eventually make a significant contribution in the teaching and learning of mathematics in schools at both schools and teacher training institutions. The ultimate measure of the success of this NUL-Schools Research Partnership would, from the Ministry’s Perspective, be the extent to which it contributes to the improvement of the learners’ performance in science and mathematics in schools.

 

 It is therefore, my humble request to you all that this initiative should not be one of the many pilot projects that are not scaled up.

 

A good project is appreciated BUT this country NEEDS a functioning education SYSTEM based on sound research to inform policy development and reforms.

 

I therefore wish to commend the University and the schools represented here today for initiating this collaboration, for it is when we work collectively that we can speed up our journey towards the attainment of the EFA and MDG goals, and thus make the difference that we are all desire to see in our education system.

 

It is now my pleasure to declare this ‘NUL-Schools Partnership in Research” programme, officially launched.

 

KHOTSO!!!!    PULA!!!           NALA!!!