Prime Minister Thomas Thabane says his government is prioritizing the needs of teachers because they it recognizes the role they play in shaping the future of the country.
Thabane said this at the opening of Africa Forum of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA) at the Manthabiseng Convention Centre on Tuesday this week.
“The Lesotho government shall adopt and implement policies that are aimed at putting the Lesotho teaching service high on the global scale and producing students with relevant skills, who will be competitive internationally. I urge and encourage public servants across the broadest to respect, care and serve our nations with dignity and utmost faith in order to cherish sustainability and growth in all sectors of our economies, education being the pillar. In any country, education is the light of success for any person who wishes to contribute meaningfully in his or her community and country,” said Thabane.
He said Lesotho was trying to use its natural resources such as diamonds, water, wool and mohair, and dagga to help the country could grow its economy to meet the needs of the teachers. Thabane asked Lesotho teachers to contribute in the current national reforms so that a new Lesotho could be born.
“The world has become a global village, thus we have to offer education that is relevant globally and produce students that are competitive world-wide. In line with the continental education strategy for Africa, 2016 to 2025, we have to revitalize the teaching profession to ensure quality and relevance at all levels of education. The strategy further instructs those who are responsible for the delivery of quality education to revise education and training systems in this continent to meet the knowledge, competencies, skills, innovation and creativity required to nurture core values and promote sustainable development,” he said.
Thabane said the country made sure that every Mosotho child got an education that would open opportunities for them in future, by making it free at primary level and providing bursaries at tertiary level.
“Free primary school education is rolled in all public primary schools. An Integrated Early Childhood Care and Development Policy and its strategic plan have been developed and implemented. An inclusive education policy is in place while a non-formal education policy has also been launched. All the policies and interventions that we have adopted, however good they may be, will come to nothing if we lost sight of the need to concentrate on improving the quality and competencies of our teachers,” added Thabane.
He said his government was ensuring the equitable deployment of qualified teachers at primary and secondary schools across the country. Thabane said there were concerns of skewed deployment of teachers which favoured the urban schools at the expense of rural, hard to reach schools.
“Cabinet has instructed the development of a teachers’ career and salary structure in order to meet the needs of our teachers. This initiative is led by a cabinet sub-committee that is made up of eight senior ministers, including the ministers responsible for finance, and education and training. I am more than convinced that a teacher’s life in our education system shall improve tremendously,” said Thabane.