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Part II - Analytic Sections (Covering the decade 1990 -1999)

7.0 Progress towards goals and targets

This section focuses on the outcomes of the data collection based on the set of core 18 indicators as outlined in the "Technical Guidelines." It forms the basis of the general assessment of progress made since 1990 towards achieving the national long-term goals on the "six target dimensions" as laid out by national authorities in 1990 during the Jontiem World Conference on "Education for all by the year 2000". The target dimensions are as follows:

Education Sector Development Plan I

After the 1990 World Conference on Education for All, the Government of Lesotho (GOL) launched the Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP I) for the period from 1991/92 - 1995/96. The Plan coincided with the Fifth National Development Plan period (1991-1996) and addressed the entire spectrum of the education system. In particular, but without prejudice to other collaborating sub-sectors, the plan focussed on investing in the development of human resources. Investments in basic education and technical training specifically, were perceived to ensure that Lesotho would sustain the economy by both meeting the needs of the local labour market and providing Basotho with the skills required for better living.

The GOL made significant improvements in the education sector during the implementation of the Education Sector Development Plan. A summary description of the achievements is outlined below:

Primary and Secondary Education

Sector Financing and Expenditures

The GOL maintained the 4% annual real increase on the Education budget. The cost centre based budgeting introduced during the Fifth Plan period produced good results and was maintained throughout the period.

School Management

The introduction of District Resource Teachers (DRTs), who assist inspectors on school management and supervision, significantly improved the MOEs management capacity. During the Fifth Plan period, the MOE hired 39 additional Inspectors and 78 DRTs.

Enactment of the 1995 Education Act increased community involvement in school management through parental and chiefs' representation in School Management Committees. The training for these committees started towards the end of the Fifth Plan period.

Quality and Efficiency Improvements

Through the hiring of 260 primary school teachers annually, 70% of whom were assigned to grades 1-3, the MOE reduced the pupil:teacher ratio from 54:1 in 1991 to 49:1 in 1996. This led to some improvements towards realizing the official pupil:teacher ratio policy of 40:1.

The MOE developed and implemented Terms of Reference for the National Curriculum Committee (NCC). In addition, revised timetables and syllabi were drawn up and are now being pilot tested. Although both Policy Framework on Curriculum and Assessment for Basic Education were formulated and adopted, there is need to link curriculum with examinations.

The use of birth certificates and clinical cards for entrance into primary schools helped eradicate under-age primary enrolment. A three-year campaign aimed at informing parents of the cost of over-age and under-age enrolment was conducted and produced positive responses from schools and parents.

The MOE implemented a policy of limiting repetition rates at the primary level. Success in this area is largely attributed to reforms in curriculum and improved distribution of instructional materials.

The MOE built 1,094 new primary classrooms, renovated 49 classrooms, and supplied furniture. It also developed a classroom inspection tool through a programme of "Effecting School Change" which aims at matching teaching/learning objectives with pupils' expectations. While this provided an expanded access to schooling, it also reduced the number of pupils without desks and improved the general quality of teaching and learning.

Inspections of approximately 200 high schools were conducted by the MOE, focusing on school administration and management. Most of the recommendations based on the findings of the inspections have been implemented and improvements in examination results realised.

The MOE raised the status and conditions of the teaching profession by placing the terms and conditions of service for teachers at par with those of civil servants. It also created and operationalised the Teaching Service Commission.

Teacher Education

By granting autonomy to the National Teacher Training College (NTTC) now renamed Lesotho College of Education (LCE), the MOE reduced the time required for direct supervision of teacher education. Subsequently, NTTC established a Primary Education Division and an In-service Division and related training.

A programme for training teachers, specifically for grades 1-3 was launched, although it only admits 20 students annually due to staffing problems. Finally, NTTC upgraded the Pre-Service Primary Teachers Certificate to a diploma level. The upgraded In-Service Division graduated its first cohort in 1992 and expects the second cohort to complete in 1999 and 2000 for LIET IV and PTC, respectively.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

The MOE granted the Lerotholi Polytechnic (LP) autonomy, thus reducing the need for direct MOE supervision in technical education. In 1993, the GOL revised the Lesotho Technical and Vocational Training Act No.25 of 1984 to include apprenticeship training.

Education Sector Development Plan II

Education Sector Development Plan II (1998/99 – 2001/02) will focus its efforts on alleviating poverty, with particular emphasis on investing in the development of human resources.

a) Access and Equity

Committed to achieving universal primary education (UPE), the GOL realises the need to address the needs of out-of-school children, as well as those of pupils in school. The MOE is undertaking exploratory steps towards eliminating fees at the primary level. Studies are being conducted to rationalise fees at both the primary and secondary level. The GOL would implement a policy of free primary education in phases, beginning in with standard one (grade 1) in the year 2000.

In addition, the MOE is exploring the feasibility of extending the basic education cycle from 7 to 10 years.

The GOL is particularly committed to addressing the basic education needs of children living in the impoverished, mountainous areas. Therefore, MOE will give priority to the construction of primary schools in the inaccessible regions, although some schools will also be built in accessible regions.

Another means of reaching the poorest-of-the-poor is to provide scholarships to children from needy families. The GOL intends to pilot a scholarship programme, the next steps for which are to determine criteria for the identification/selection of recipients and commencing an awareness campaign at the community level. As the children in the mountain areas have severely limited access to secondary education, the scholarships will focus on supporting their attendance at schools with boarding facilities.

Most ongoing interventions focus on improvements aimed at improving opportunities for children already in school. The MOE will explore strategies aimed at addressing the needs of out-of-school children. One such group of particular concern is herdboys. They typically spend several weeks away from their villages while herding animals and therefore miss the opportunity for formal schooling. In order to gain a better understanding of how to integrate herdboys and other groups into the formal system, the MOE is collaborating with co-operating partners to conduct a household survey. This will identify those who are the poor, where are they located and what are their needs. Subsequently, the MOE will pilot different strategies to address these needs.

b) Qualityand Efficiency

Expanding the system to realise UPE requires many more and better qualified teachers.

In order to address the need of upgrading teachers’ skills, the MOE will support the establishment of a Distance Teacher Education Programme (DTEP) offering of a 2-year Certificate and a 1-2 year Diploma programmes. The former will reduce the duration of training from 3.5 years to 2 years. Over the long-term, the DTEP should reduce the unit costs of teacher training and improve classroom techniques.

The MOE places heavy emphasis on the development of a national, integrated framework for curriculum and assessment at the primary and secondary school levels. This will provide guidance on compulsory subjects at differing stages of education and weight the subjects appropriately. In addition, the framework should be able to help specify the schedule and objectives of formal national assessments and examinations. The spread of HIV/AIDS is increasingly being recognised as an urgent development issue and not one which concerns the health sector alone. The Education sector's role will be to develop HIV/AIDS education materials for incorporation into primary and secondary school curriculum and will also establish a module on the subject for teacher training. In preparation for its role in developing the proposed curriculum, NCDC will be strengthened through staff training and some Technical Assistance. ECOL, which will take responsibility for defining the assessment content and structure, will be strengthened through a twinning arrangement with an international assessment institution.

The high primary school pupil:teacher ratio negatively impacts on the quality of education. The NTTC will be upgraded to increase the number of students it can admit each year. Special emphasis will be given to training more teachers for the lower primary grades where the average pupil:teacher ratio is particularly high. At the secondary level, many teachers are not economically deployed. To improve efficiency, the pupil:teacher ratio will increase to 25:1.

The recent introduction of District Resource Centres (DRCs) and District Resource Teachers/Tutors (DRTs) has met with extremely positive results. The DRTs provide important support to both teachers and the Office of the Inspectorate. The GOL will augment the number of DRTs from the current figure of 84 to 100. In addition, the MOE will further strengthen the Inspectorate by recruiting and training 20 additional Field Officers.

The GOL will extend and consolidate the process of decentralisation already begun under the Fifth Plan period. It will increase the authority of local structures and provide training to enhance capacity at that level. As called for in the Education Act, all primary and secondary schools will establish School Committees. To provide the best educational services to all Basotho children, the GOL recognises the importance of forming a strong partnership between the MOE and the school proprietors. To enhance the working relationship, MOE will hold regular GOL consultations with education stakeholders and proprietors. The School Committees will further enhance cooperation between GOL and proprietors, as well as increase parental involvement in school management. An additional benefit expected from the School Committees is a higher level of quality and efficiency of education. The Inspectorate will train the School Committees in both general management issues as well as financial matters.

An improved Education Management Information System (EMIS) is being designed and will be implemented by November 1999. This will provide the MOE with baseline data against which future improvements, both quantitative and qualitative, can be measured.

The GOL is interested in aligning its priorities with subsectoral allocations. MOE proposes to increase the share of the MOE recurrent budget to primary and secondary education. In order to sustain expansion of access and quality, there is also a need to improve the efficiency of expenditures within the Education sector.

In order to implement its programmes efficiently, MOE recognises the need to strengthen its own institutions. It plans to work hard at enhancing the capacity within the MOE in the areas of policy making, planning and budgeting.

Since the overall resource envelope for education is likely to remain constrained, gains must be found by improving the efficiency of the sector. In order to align GOL priorities and budgetary allocations, the MOE will undertake a Public Expenditure Review (PER), examining all education subsectors, including tertiary education. The process will examine how well resources for education are currently being used and identify desirable changes in the level and pattern of future education spending. This will result in quantified targets and an agreed composition for future education spending, as well as an agreement on specific actions to achieve these. The next step will be to implement a Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for education, which will guide the allocation of MOE resources. The findings will guide the MOE budget allocations for 1999/2000 and 2000/2001. The MOE will repeat this exercise annually and integrate the MTEF process into its budgetary planning process.

To date, the MOE’s role in Early Childhood Development (ECD) is loosely defined. During Phase I, MOE will focus on Policy formulation and capacity building in the ECD sub-sector. Specifically, MOE aims to (a) establish a national policy framework which will guide the expansion of ECD coverage; (b) design an effective and age-appropriate curriculum; (c) develop a training programme for ECD trainers, teachers and providers; and (d) pilot test low cost, community-based programmes in two of the most disadvantaged districts.

Before investing in Technical and Vocational Education and Training, the GOL will first focus on establishing a policy framework, undertake institutional reforms and establish a new management structure in order to strengthen the subsector.

The GOL recognises the importance of attracting greater foreign investment in order to create more jobs in the local private sector. Another government priority is to reform TVET so that it produces graduates who meet the needs of employers. Towards this end, the GOL will support the development of a tri-partite management approach to reforms and work with employers and employees to identify alternative financing approaches. Additionally, an accreditation system and qualification framework will be set-up to better prepare Basotho workers to meet the needs of the local and regional labour market. A Technical and Vocational Board (TVB) will be established to guide this work.

In the subsector of Non-Formal Education, MOE will also focus on policy development. The NFE Task Force has finalised a policy paper and a logframe, in consultations with the NGOs and other agencies involved in NFE. During the plan period, MOE hopes to build on this policy paper to clearly define policies and priorities and develop a framework for meeting the most pressing needs of the Basotho people. This will involve participation and support from both the public and private sectors.

7.1 Early Childhood Care and Development (ECD)

According to the adapted International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) as revised in 1997 (ISCED 97), Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) is classified as "Education at Level 0". There are other five distinct levels of education, namely: Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4 and Level 5 corresponding, respectively, to primary education, lower secondary education, upper secondary education, post secondary non-tertiary education and the university education.

Education at Level O is also known as the Pre-Primary Education. It provides Early Childhood Care and Development. The extent to which it is provided is significantly very small in Lesotho. In some parts of the country, it is still a new phenomenon while in some areas it does not exist at all. That way, there is no formal system of ECCD in Lesotho.

Where it is provided, it usually begins at the age of three and lasts for three years. Programmes are intended primarily to introduce young children to a school-type environment, to provide care and education, that is, appreciation skills and value sharing to children. These programmes are run by private centres established by local communities, private individuals, NGOs and some church groups.

In relation to other levels of education as prescribed by ISCED '97, ECCD is still undeveloped. In Lesotho the MOE has not yet established a database from which any meaningful statistical indicators can be drawn. There is no doubt, however, that a great deal of groupwork is being done in creating the necessary environment for strengthening the existing facilities and mobilishing resources for the development of ECD. The national Policy Document on ECD produced recently (1999) and the Directory of ECD centres in Lesotho published recently (July 1999), both with the assistance of UNICEF; are a big step forward in the direction of ECD development. Table 1 below is indicative of positive efforts being done to bring ECD to recognition.

Table 1 – Number of ECD Centres, Pupils and Teachers, 1997 and 1998

Source: Mid-term review on basic education and training:

submitted by IDM to UNICEF

Table 1 shows an increase of 3 percent in the number of ECD centres from 1530 in 1997 to 1578 in 1998. This is compared to the increase of 108 percent envisaged at the beginning of the plan period (1996 – 1999) and the increase of 3 percent is quite small.

The reasons for the small increase are many and varied. Some of the reasons are that many parents in the villages do not apportion much importance to ECD. Attendance at ECD is not compulsory; and it is not a prerequisite for admission in primary schools. So parents feel that they should keep their children in the warmth of their homes right up to the age of five, without having to worry about waking them up early, washing them, preparing lunch boxes from them, and walking them to school. These things are seen as a form of torment for little children, and unnecessary hassle for the parents. If they remain at home, these children are available for small household chores such as herding calves for boys and tending younger siblings for girls. Parents also save themselves from the fairly sizeable costs involved, and from the hassles of frequent meetings and obligations demanded of them.

Table 1 also shows a 2.7 percent increase in the number of pupils enrolled in ECD centres. The number increased from 35,124 in 1997 to 36,079 in 1998. There were 16,617 boys and 19,063 girls. Meanwhile, the number of ECD teachers, all of whom were female teachers, increased by 3 percent; from 1912 in 1997 to 1970 in 1998. In a majority of cases, there was one teacher in each centre. Naturally, the problem that prevents an increase in the number of centres, applies for the number of teachers.

    1. Primary Education
    2. Primary education (Education at the first level) has a cycle of seven years, beginning with the first grade. The seven yearly stages are designated standards 1 through 7. The official primary school age population is 6 to 12 years. Programmes here are intended for basic education in reading, and writing in English and Sesotho (the mother tongue); and mathematics along with an elementary introduction to other subjects such science and social studies.

      Apparent intake rate (AIR) in primary education

      In general, intake rates show the extent to which the educational system is able to absorb the school-age children entering primary school for the first time. The Apparent Rate (AIR) in particular compares the number of new entrants (irrespective of age) to a level of education, in this case, primary education with the population of the prescribed entry age which is the six-year old population in the case of Lesotho. To this end, AIR concerns itself with all pupils entering school for the first time, in relation to the population of the prescribed entry age. It is in this light that AIR is an indicator of access to primary education and therefore an important indicator to assess one of the goals set out for EFA 2000.

      Table 1 (a) - Evolution of the Apparent Intake Rate (AIR) by Gender

      Figure 1 (a) - Evolution of Apparent Intake Rate, 1990 - 1997

      According to Table 1(a) and Figure 1(a) portrayed above, the level of AIR at the base year 1990 stood at 1.11, well above 100% indicating a high level of access to primary education. But the level of AIR during the period 1992 to 1997 has been gradually declining, particularly in 1993 and 1997 when it dropped to 0.96 and 0.89, respectively. This decline could be the result of a massive information campaign that the MOE has lately launched that recommends that only pupils of six years of age should be admitted into the first grade of primary education. Before the age of six, children should remain in ECD centres. This policy initiative is meant to reduce overcrowding that has become a major problem in primary schools in the country.

      In terms of what we set out to do in the Education Sector Development Plan I (1991/92-1995/96), namely to expand access to primary education, the level of AIR maintained throughout the period has been fairly good. It has fluctuated around unity throughout the period. But at the beginning of the period (1990-1992), AIR for females stayed more prominent than that for males, hence the Gender Parity Index (GPI) stayed constant at around 1.05. From the beginning of 1994 to date, AIR for males caught up with AIR for females and hence the resulting GPI is at the level around UNITY.

      One limitation posed by AIR is that it is not age –specific when it refers to the new entrants into grade 1. We cannot therefore make any conclusions regarding the magnitude of the problem of those who are not in the system at any given time.

      Table 1(b) - Evolution of AIR by Geographical Location

      (District) and by Gender

      Figure 1(b) - AIR by District and Gender, 1996

      There was no significant difference between males and females rate of admission into primary education in 1996. However, the districts of Mohale’s Hoek, Quthing, Qacha’s Nek, Mokhotlong and Thaba-Tseka have recorded higher intake rates for females than the rest of the other districts. In these districts, which are largely rural and mountainous, most girls go to school while their male counterparts look after the cattle as herdboys.

      Lesotho has a long history of female domination in education. But this phenomenon is gradually fading away. For example, the Gender Parity Index of 1.04 observed in 1990 compares better with that of 1.01 observed in 1996.

      1. Net Intake Rate (NIR)
      2. Given the limitation of the AIR, namely that it does not provide information on the age distribution of new entrants, we cannot assess the problem of late entrance, that is, the general age-spread in Grade 1 and their implications for subsequent grades. A more refined indicator of access to education is the Net Intake Rate (NIR). NIR refers to the proportion of new entrants in primary education, aged six in the case of Lesotho, to the population of the same age. Countries aiming to universalize primary education will seek to enroll all children at the official school entrance age. Thus NIR is a measure of progress towards achieving universal primary education (UPE).

        Table 2 (a) – Evolution of Net Intake Rate by Gender, 1990-1997

        Table 2 (b) - Evolution of NIR By District and by Gender

        Figure 2 (a) - Evolution of NIR by District and Gender

        The NIR has varied from the current lowest level of 24.5 percent to the highest levels of 33.4 percent and 35.1 percent recorded at the beginning of the decade, that is, in 1990 and 1991, respectively. On the whole, the analysis shows that only small proportions of pupils enter the first grade of primary schooling at the official age of six. This means that the majority of pupils enrolled in grade one, and consequently in all other grades, are either overage or underage. This problem of under-age and over-age admission into primary schooling is more pronounced in remote and mountainous districts of Mohale’s Hoek , Quthing, Qacha’s Nek, Mokhotlong and Thaba-Tseka. Meanwhile, the adopted strategy, that of reducing overcrowding in primary schools, is to restrict enrolment of underage and limit the overage pupils in grade One.

        7.2.3 Gross enrolment ratio (GER)

        The gross enrolment (GER) in primary education is the proportion of the total enrolment, regardless of age, to the population which, according to the official national regulations, should be enrolled in primary schools. The official primary school age population in Lesotho is age group 6 to 12 years. The GER is widely used to show the general level of participation in, and capacity of, primary education. In this sense, it is a measure of the country’s coverage of the student population at any particular level of education. In many instances, it is used in place of the net enrolment ratio (NER) when data on enrolment by single years of age are not available. It can also be used together with the NER to measure the extent of over-aged and under-aged enrolment.

        Table 3(a) – Trends in total enrolment by gender, 1990-1997

        Table 3(b) - Comparison of the Average Annual Growth Rates of Total Enrolment and that of the School-age Population

        Table 3 (c) - Evolution of GER by gender, 1990 -1997

        Figure 3 (a) - Evolution of GER by gender, 1990 - 1997

        Table 3(d) - Trends in Enrolments by District and by gender

        Table 3 (e) - Trends in enrolment by district and by type Of institution

        Table 3 (e) - Evolution of GER by district and gender

        GER observed throughout the period under review are generally very high, over 100 percent see Table 3 ©. The GER for both sexes have declined, from slightly over 100 percent in 1993 to the current levels of slightly below 100 percent. Similarly, the gap between males and females was very high at the beginning of the decade figure 3 (a); but it has been closing gradually. At the current level, the gap was insignificant. Analysed by geographical location, GER show lower participation rates in the remote and mountain districts of Quthing, Qacha’s Nek, Mokhotlong and Thaba-Tseka. These districts are situated largely in the South and Eastern part of the country.

        Meanwhile, the MOE has noted with great concern that participation rate in primary education has not grown linearly over the period. The rate increased at an average rate of 0.5 percent per annum over the decade. This increase compares with the average annual rate of 2.4 percent growth in the population aged 6-12 years. This suggests a serious problem of under-enrolment, particularly now when we are talking "Education for All". Government and Community schools enrolment constituted only 2.2 percent of the total enrolment in 1997. They constituted 1.7 percent of the total enrolment in 1990, showing a small increase of 0.5 percentage points over the period.

      3. Net Enrolment ratio (NER)

The net enrolment ratio (NER) is the proportion of the number of pupils of a requisite age group enrolled to the size of the population of the same age group. The requisite age group for primary education in Lesotho is the age group 6 to 12 years. The NER gives a relatively more precise measurement of the extent of participation in primary education of children belonging to the official primary school age. In this regard, a high NER denotes a high degree of participation in primary education of the official primary school age group.

When NER is compared with the GER, the difference between the two ratios measures the incidence of under-age and overage enrolment.

Table 4(a) – Evolution of NER by gender, 1990-1997

Figure 4 (a) - Evolution of NER by gender, 1990 - 1997

Table 4 (b) - Evolution of the Un-enrolled School-age Children by gender, 1990 – 1997

Table 4 © - Comparision of the Average Growth Rates of the Enrolled School - age Children

and the Total School -age Population 1990-97

Table 4(d) - Evolution of NER by district and by gender

Table 4 (e) Age Specific Enrolment Ratio/Age-grade enrolment ratio

Figure 4 (a) - Age Specific Enrolment Ratio, 1996

NER observed over the period has increased at an average annual rate of 0.2 percent as against 2.4 percent annual growth rate for the school age population. This shows that UPE is not yet attained in Lesotho.

According to Table 4 (a), NER, while staying fairly stable at 76 percent between 1990 and 1992, saw a sudden rather steep drop in 1993 and has since been declining. While NER for females are predominantly higher than for males, they have both consistently declined. They kept the same pace of decline, hence the Gender Parity Index maintained throughout the period is similar. The continuing decline in enrolment rates, could be attributed to the increasing numbers of the un-enrolled school age children (see Table 4 (b)). Of the enrolled school-age children in all districts, females are in the majority. They have higher enrolment ratios than males as portrayed in figure 4 (a). The lower age specific enrolment rates for males indicate that the problem of over-age and un-enrolled school-age population, are more pronounced with males than they are with females. For socio-economic reasons, a male child in Lesotho has been more disadvantaged than his female counterpart as far as schooling is concerned. But lately, new avenues are opening up for equal opportunities in education for both males and females.

 Public Expenditure on Education

Table 5 (a) - Trends in Public Expenditure on Education (in Maloti)

GNP has increased by 1102 between 1990 and 1997. While increasing fairly steadily beginning in 1990, it saw a sudden huge increase beginning in 1996. Basotho apportion the huge increase to the time when the giant Lesotho highlands Project began to pay off. Total expenditure on education has increased significantly, from 76,130,479 in 1990 to 455,239,450 in 1997, leading to an average annual growth rate of 19.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the percentage share of the MOE expenditure allocated to primary education (public expenditure on primary education expressed as a percentage of total public expenditure on education) has increased from 39.8 percent in 1990 to 41.6 percent in 1997. This reflects an increase of 1.8 percentage points over the period. Considered in relation to other sub-sectors taken together, primary education has enjoyed a substantial share of the MOE expenditure, and this is true for each individual year under observation. Table 5 (b) shows the priority areas to which the expenditure is made.

Two other indicators are noticeable from Table 5 (a), that is, (1 public expenditure in primary education expressed as a propotion of GNP and 2) per pupil expenditure in primary education expressed as a percentage of GNP.

Table 5 (b) - Expenditure on Primary Education, 1990 – 1997

7.2.6 Teaching Staff

Table 6 (a) - Evolution of Teaching Staff by District and by gender

In 1997, the total number of teachers increased by 1637; from 6452 in 1990 to 8089 in 1997 thereby constituting an average annual rate of increase of 2.3 percent. During the same period, the number of female teachers increased at a slower pace compared to the increase in the number of male teachers. Female teachers increased by an average rate of increase of 2.2 percent per annum as opposed to an average rate of increase of 2.8 percent per annum for male teachers. Thus the gender parity index (GPI) of 3.7 percent in 1997 was worse off than the GPI of 4.0 percent observed in 1990.

Despite the worsening of the GPI in 1997, female teachers continued to constitute the vast majority of primary school teachers in Lesotho. They accounted for some 80 percent of the total stock of the teaching force in 1990 and for 78.9 percent of the total teachers in 1997. The exceedingly high numbers of female teachers exist at the district level as well, showing the least numbers in the remote and mountain districts of Qacha's Nek, Mokhotlong and Thaba-Tseka. The lowlands districts of Leribe, Berea and Maseru had most female teachers.

Table 6 (b) - Percentage of Primary school Teachers Having the required Academic  Qualifications

The definition of "the required academic qualification for teaching" has changed from time to time as a result of the upgrading of the content in teacher training courses and general improvement in the teaching profession. Therefore, the latest data available are not comparable with the data at the beginning of the decade, 1990.

In Lesotho, teachers are considered qualified if they are trained and hold teachers certificates. Otherwise, they are unqualified to teach in primary schools. The minimum required academic qualification for entry into teachers training programmes is Cambridge Overseas School Certificate (COSC). It is in this context that we define the "required academic

qualification for teaching" as the COSC, that is, the level at which one would be considered trainable for teaching profession.

According to Table 6(b), the majority of primary school teachers having the required academic qualifications were female teachers. They constituted 63.3 percent of the total teachers in 1997. That is consistent with the analysis on Table 6(a) and Table 6(c), namely that female teachers are better qualified and are in the majority, and that there are more teachers in the lowlands districts of Leribe, Berea and Maseru in which the capital city is situated.

Table 6 ©- Percentage of Primary School Teachers Who are Certified to teachAccording to National Standards

In 1997, the vast majority of primary school teachers (77.5%) were qualified, meaning they were certified to teach according to national standards. This proportion of qualified teachers declined from 80.3 percent in 1990, constituting a drop of some 3 percentage points over the period 1990 to 1997. The proportion of qualified teachers varied enormously within and between the districts. In 1997, the districts of Leribe, Berea and Maseru had percentage of qualified teachers above the average rate of 77.5 percent, while the rest of the districts had lower than the average rate. In 1990, the same districts ranked higher than the average rate, showing some tendency of qualified teachers being located in the same districts. The least proportion of qualified teachers (69.1%) was observed in a remote and mountain district of Mokhotlong in 1997. The mountain allowance, which has been revised recently, and other incentives could change this situation.

Pupil:teacher ratio (PTR)

The pupil:teacher ratio (PTR) refers to the average number of pupils per teacher in a given school-year. It is generally assumed that a low pupil:teacher ratio signifies smaller classes, which enables one teacher to pay more attention to individual pupils and thus contribute to better scholastic performance of the pupils. On the other hand, a high pupil:teacher ratio would suggest that each teacher has to deal with a large number of pupils and that, conversely, pupils receive less attention from the teacher.

This indicator is used to measure the level of human resources input, in terms of number of teachers, in relation to the size of the pupil population.

Table 6 (d)- Evolution of the PTR by districts 

Figure 6 (a) - Evolution of the PTR by district

Compared with the PTR in 1990, the PTR in 1997 shows a general decline across all districts, signifying a general improvement towards realizing the official PTR of 40:1. At the district level, the PTR ranged from about 39:1 in Mokhotlong to the highest 50:1 in Quthing district.

7.2.7 Internal Efficiency of the Education System

Table 7(a) - Evolution of the Repetition Rates by District and by gender

The national repetition rates of 19.9, 23.2 and 16,9 observed respectively for both sexes, males and females, improved only marginally from the corresponding national repetition rates recorded in 1990. The repetition rates, however, vary noticeably between sexes since males repetition rates, in all districts, tend to be higher than those for females.

Table 7 (b) - Average Pupil-flow Rates (Promotion, Repetition and Drop-out Rates), 1996-1997

Table 7 (b) shows the flow of pupils from one standard to another (promotions), pupils who remain in the same standard (repeaters), and pupils who leave school as drop-outs. The flow rates presented were calculated from the data of the last two academic years, 1996 and 1997 as follows.

The number of pupils promoted to Standard 4 in 1997 divided by the number of Standard 3 pupils in 1996, provides the 1996 promotion ratio for Standard 3. The number of Standard 3 repeaters in 1997 divided by the Standard 3 enrolment in 1996, gives the repeater ratio. The same procedures are applied to each Standard to derive the flow rates shown in Table 7 (b). For Standard 7, we use the pass rates on the Primary School Leaving Examination as a measure of promotion.

According to Table 7 (b), wastage is exceeding high for the lower standards (grade 1- 4). The 66.0 percent promotion rate for Standard 1, with a repetition rate of 24.1 percent, indicates that many pupils are caught up in a continuous round of repeating until they are either promoted or drop-out. The promotion rate increases as pupils progress through grades, partly as a result of the less capable ones dropping out. A noteworthy observation is that wastage is more severe with males than it is with females.

Table 7 (c) - School Survival by Grade and by Gender

Table 7 © is derived from the Cohort Analysis in the Annexture. It shows the school survival rate from a cohort (defined as a single group considered as a Unit) of pupils who enter the first grade of primary education. It shows that the cohort shrinks each year as a significant proportion repeats or drops-out, to the extent that only slightly over 10 percent (114 out of the original 1000 pupils) will graduate after seven years of primary education. An additional 393 individuals will eventually graduate after as many as eight repeats of a grade, leaving us with 507 graduates out of the original 1000.

Throughout the grades, the performance of females is higher than that of males as 574 females go through the final stage of primary as opposed 523 males. In the final examinations, the scores for both sexes level off, standing at 51.2 percent and 50.0 percent for females and males, respectively.

Table 7 (d) - Survival Rate to Grade/Standard 5

Out of the initial cohort of 1000 pupils entering Standard 1 of primary education, the proportion that completes Standard 4 and reaches Standard 5 (survival to Standard 5) is 68.4 percent on average. The rest falls by the wayside. The survival rate of females (74.5 percent) is higher than that of males (62.1 percent). The pass rates at the end of the primary cycle, as determined by graduates, are 51.2 percent for females as against a slightly lower rate of 50.0 percent for males.

The educational system is operating under a high wastage ratio (Input-Output ratio) of 1.86 on average. This means that the graduates are being produced at 86 percent higher than the ideal cost. The ideal cost which would occur under optimum efficiency would be characterized by the Input-Output Ratio of 1.00. That is, if there were no repeaters nor drop-outs, the Input-Output Ratio would be equal to unity.

Figure 7 (a) - Survival Rate by Standard and by Gender

Learning Achievement

The responsibility for monitoring improvement in learning achievement in formal schooling falls under the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) of the Ministry of Education (MOE).


Improvement of learning achievement such that an agreed percentage of an appropriate age cohort attains or surpasses a defined level of necessary learning achievement.

History of internal assessment at NCDC

NCDC plan to extend the National assessment in all primary school subjects and grades by the year 2001. In the late 1980s the Evaluation, Research and Testing (ERT) section of NCDC produced Skills Checklists and End –of-level tests for use in schools. Checklists were produced for grades 1 to 3 while End-of-level tests were produced for grades 4 to 6. These were for the following subjects: Sesotho, English and Mathematics. There were plans to extend to other subjects later on. The skills checklists are tools to measure pupils achievement of each objective. The-of-level tests were used by teachers guidelines to draft their own tests. The activity was sponsored by BANFES project.

In 1993 USAID sponsored a project namely; Primary Education Project (PEP) where tests were produced (Attainment Tests) to replace end-of-level tests. These were produced to be used as checkpoints at two levels of grade 3 and grade 6. These are also meant to work as a prediction tool for performance at the end of primary schooling.

The first administration of these tests in 1993 helped to establish a national average of 70% in all the three subjects. In the subsequent sittings pupils were said to have mastered the tests if their individual scores were 70% or better. The following table shows the percentage of pupils who attained a score of 70% or more:









The scores of pupils, however, were not disaggregated by gender or region and as such there is no comparison using those two variables. Other subjects have not been tested and therefore our reporting is restricted to only these three subjects.

Table 8 (b) - Evolution of Results of National Assessment – Primary School Leaving Examination Results (PSLE)

Table 8 (c) - Percentage of Pupils Succeeding in Primary School Leaving Examination Results (PSLE)

  • At the national level the 1997 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results showed no significant difference from those of 1990. At the district level, however, the PSLE results varied enormously, with Butha-Buthe recording the most increase of 13.6 percentage points over the period. The trend analysis shows that while the percentage scores increased consistently between 1990 and 1992, 1993 saw a huge increase in percentage passes. This increase could not be sustained as the percentage passes started declining in 1994 and have since been declining.

    Literacy Rates

    A National Literacy Survey has recently been conducted. The results from the survey are being processed and a report is pending. It is expected that it will provide important information regarding improvements that have been realised since the 1985 survey when the overall literacy rate was 47%. For females the literacy rate was 55% while the males was 38%.

    However, in the 1996 Population Census, the data from the question asked on the highest level of education attained by the population of Lesotho, was grouped into different categories of educational qualifications as shown below:

  • None……….……. This category refers to those who have never attended school and therefore can be considered as illiterate.

  • 1 – 4………..…… Those who have attended the lower primary stage. They are semi-illiterate and are likely to relapse into illiteracy.

  • 5 – 7………..…… This category is approximately those who may be

  • considered as literate because have completed the

  • elementary primary education – standards 1 – 4.

  • Secondary…….… Those with post-primary at secondary level are those who could be considered as middle level manpower.

    Post-Secondary…. Those with post – secondary at university level are those who could be considered as high level manpower.

    The definitions of educational categories above have been adopted and are not only necessary to compare the current situation with the past trends (see Table 2.11), but are also useful for classifying educational attainment levels of persons with different skills for labour market studies, and for assessing the extent to which the educational system is able to meet the national goals e.g. to abolish illiteracy or attain the Universal Primary Education, and for manpower planning in general.

    The educational attainment levels of the population of Lesotho as revealed by the census data are shown in Table 2.10. It appears from this table that a substantial number of persons who had no schooling were aged between 5 and 14; and this is true for both sexes alike. This is contrary to the expectation that the children in this age-group would be schooling more than the persons in other age groups. Regarding the number of persons who had only completed the elementary stage of primary education, the majority is made up of persons aged between 15 and 24.

    The female in the age group 55+ years of age, were mostly in the categories of ‘stds. 1 – 4’, followed by ‘no education’ category of educational attainment. Only a few had completed higher primary education. The males in the corresponding age – group, dominate in the ‘no education’ category followed by the ‘std. 1 – 4’ category. They were fewer than their female counterparts in the std. 5 – 7 category.

    Illiteracy Rate

    Based on the definitions of educational categories given above, coupled with the data given in Table 2.10, we realize that the female population of Lesotho is more educated that the male population. The proportion of the illiterate females can be estimated at 45 percent; giving a literacy rate of 55 percent for females while the proportion of the illiterate males was 62 percent. The overall illiteracy rate was 53 percent; which shows no change compared to the overall illiteracy rate estimated by the National Literacy Survey of 1985. as for the total number of children aged between 5 and 14, they were predominantly illiterate. A large proportion of these children either had no education or had only attended standards 1 – 4.

    The definition of literacy used in Lesotho now poses some problems. It is seems outdated and far away from reality. In some countries, ‘a person is considered literate if she/he can understand to read and write a short simple statement on his/her language’. In this case, literacy is checked during the census by administering a test on reading and writing. Based on similar tests, the literacy rate in Lesotho could be higher that what the present estimate. Literacy as defined by the Bureau of Statistics in Lesotho is more stringent. It is defined as having attained more than four years of schooling. It is for this reason that Table 2.10 which shows the highest level of educational attainment has been used to estimate literacy in Lesotho. Data on literacy is not directly available from censuses carried out in Lesotho. In the absence of these data, a working definition that would be closer to reality and be more acceptable, should be devised. One such definition would be to consider all those people who have no schooling as illiterate and others as literate. Then the illiteracy rate in Lesotho can be estimated to be 30 percent for males, 15 percent for females and 22 percent for both sexes. That means the illiteracy rate (both sexes) has declined from 27 percent to 22 percent during the intercensal period 1986-1996.

    Table 2.10 Population (Proportion) by Age Group And by Level of Education, 1996

    Table 2.11 Trends in Educational Attainment Levels – 1986, 1996

    Source: 1986 Population Census Analysis Report (Volume III pp.3.3)

    Annex 1 – Cohort Analysis Based Upon 1996 Flow Rates  Applied to 1997 Intake-Both Sexes

    Annex 2 – Cohort Analysis Based Upon 1996 Flow Rates

    Applied to 1997 Intake – Males

    Annex 3 – Cohort Analysis Based Upon 1996 Flow Rates  Applied to 1997 Intake-Females