Lesotho Culture and Education
Traditional musical instruments include lekolulo, a kind of flute used by herding boys, setolo-tolo, played by men using their mouth, and the woman's stringed thomo. The national anthem of Lesotho is "Lesotho Fatše La Bo-ntata Rona", which literally translates into "Lesotho, Land Of Our Fathers".The traditional style of housing in Lesotho is called a rondavel. Attire revolves around the Basotho blanket, a thick covering made primarily of wool. The blankets are ubiquitous throughout the country during all seasons. The Morija Arts & Cultural Festival is a prominent Sesotho arts and music festival. It is held annually in the historical town of Morija, where the first missionaries arrived in 1833.
Lesotho Education and Training
As a key sector that leads to a more employable and productive workforce able to compete locally and regionally, the education sector receives a significant share of recurrent expenditure proposals.
A renewed strategic plan has focused on consolidating areas in the education sector that require refinement, allowing for growth in student numbers for further education, as well as a reduction in pupil/teacher ratios. Emphasis is being placed on the improvement of quality, efficiency and effectiveness, with the aspiration of addressing access remaining valid. The target is ultimately to achieve universal primary education and to improve access to early secondary education, at the same time securing high quality and performance standards.
Management of the schools is largely in the hands of the main missions, while determination of curricula and syllabuses is the responsibility of the Minister of Education. Syllabuses and educational materials are developed through the National Curriculum Development Centre in conjunction with subject panels on which teachers are represented. Administration and management of schools is to be improved through ongoing training of advisory' school committees, school boards and management committees. Policy objectives and activities that cut across all education programmes aim to consolidate and bring about effective coordination of the diverse efforts of various bodies concerned. Ongoing revision and implementation take place. An improved education management system has been de- signed and is currently being implemented, pro viding the ratios at primary school level remaining high. Education programmes aim to reflect Lesotho's development requirements, and policy directions include provision of the following:
Opportunities to develop competencies and education programmes, cultural values and activities that enhance individual and social development
Sufficient numbers of individuals equipped with the appropriate occupational, technical and managerial skills to enable them to participate in socioeconomic development
Opportunities for continuing education through non-formal programmes in literacy and numeracy, and vocational and in-service training in private enterprises
Active, cooperative partnership between all parties concerned in education management and service provision, with expansion of the roles of family and community in school activities
Enhanced access to education
Schools of high educational standard at primary, secondary and high school level are available throughout the country, with Maseru boasting several well-established international schools. As a cosmopolitan country Lesotho has children of all nationalities, and these are able to receive a secondary education in Maseru up to entrance level for universities in their home countries. Teaching is initially in Sesotho, but English is the medium of instruction used in the upper classes of primary schools and in secondary schools. In contrast with many other developing countries, female participation in education in Lesotho has been much higher than that of males. Much has been achieved in the past year, with further high schools completed, vocational and technical centers expanded, and equipment procured for workshops and libraries. The programme of construction and furnishing of schools, laboratories, and resource centers is ongoing at all levels.
Universal Primary Education
Through the provision of quality primary education, Lesotho is intent on improving the low level of skills of persons entering the workforce each year. The current primary school curriculum is being revised and reviewed and practical orientation in the teaching of core subjects is encouraged. Education is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 13, with fee elimination to be implemented in phases, starting with Standard One at the beginning of school terms in 2000. The government also intends to pilot a scholarship programme for children from needy families.
The principal goal of higher education in Lesotho is the provision of basic training, leading to improved production of high level manpower.
Education and literacy
An estimated 85 percent of the population 15 and over was literate, according to recent estimates. As such, Lesotho boasts one of the highest literacy rates in Africa. Contrary to most countries, in Lesotho female literacy (94.5%) is higher than male literacy. According to a study by the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality in 2000, 37 percent of grade 6 pupils in Lesotho (average age 14 years) are at or above reading level 4, "Reading for Meaning". At this level of literacy, a pupil can read on or reads back in order to link and interpret information located in various parts of the text. Although education is not compulsory, the Government of Lesotho is incrementally implementing a program for free primary education.