’Marafaele Mohloboli/ Tšoloane Mohlomi
BASOTHO Action Party (BAP) leader, Nqosa Mahao, has reiterated his pledge to overhaul Lesotho’s education sector if he wins the upcoming elections.
The former National University of Lesotho (NUL) Vice Chancellor made the pledge during a BAP rally at Ha-Maama in Roma this week.
Speaking to an estimated 2000 supporters mostly clad in their blue, maroon and yellow party regalia, Professor Mahao said education was essential for sustainable development and boosting the economy.
“Without education a country’s economy remains stagnant,” Prof Mahao said.
“We will introduce a progressive system of education that will ensure that the country prospers.
“The BAP doesn’t support a counter-productive education system like the one we have today. We oppose an education system that does not produce food and jobs for the country, but only creates men and women who go around searching for jobs.”
Lesotho should discard its education system because it was completely out of date and unable to address today’s challenges, he said.
“Our current educational system can neither be fixed nor modified. It deserves to be thrown into the dust bin so that we can come up with a new one.
“We need an education system that will lead to the growth of the country. A BAP government will ensure that we have a curriculum that includes agricultural studies because life starts with our soil and land.”
The education system should also be tailored to embrace technology studies so that the country keeps abreast with changing global trends.
Prof Mahao said there was need to teach different types of crafts to eliminate the inherited British colonial perception that when one is educated, they should not use their hands to make a living.
“By so doing, we would be setting a strong foundation for a generation of agriculturally-conscious and technologically savvy men and women who are able to use their hands,” he said.
He pledged that a BAP government would introduce free secondary education largely focusing on vocational training so that Basotho can start creating jobs for themselves and reduce the number of unemployed graduates.
Lesotho’s education needed a total overhaul, where 70 percent of all tertiary schools should be mandated to train students in the faculties of medicine, science, technology, maths, commerce and health. This will help address the country’s needs.
“We are going to have vocational training schools in all the 10 districts to cater for Basotho who could not attain tertiary education. This way, we will combat the tragic deaths of our women who end up being victims of human trafficking and men who end up in illegal mining and other criminal activities just because they have been taken advantage of due to their illiteracy. They should all come back and work close to their homes and be part of our self-reliance initiative,” Prof Mahao said.
He said teachers played a pivotal role in the country’s development and he would improve their salaries and working conditions if voted into government.
“Under a BAP government, teachers will be paid based on their qualifications.”
His government would also root out corruption in the Teaching Service Department and revamp the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS).
In a message to mark Women’s Month, Prof Mahao paid tribute to Basotho women for their resilience in the face of many different challenges.
Celebrated annually in August, women’s month was originally aimed at commemorating the spirited fight by South African women against repressive apartheid laws in the 1950s.
Now women’s month commemorates women in general, including Basotho women’s fight for emancipation from gender-based violence, rape, killings and other socio-cultural and economic ills.