THE Examination Council of Lesotho (ECOL) says a localised syllabus of the Travel and Tourism subject will be made available to all high schools wishing to teach it in the next academic year starting in January 2017.
ECOL Research and Statistics Manager Ms Matseko Ramokoena made the revelation during yesterday’s prize giving ceremony for the best school in the subject at the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) offices in Maseru.
First offered by the United Kingdom’s Cambridge University, the subject was piloted at Form E level in nine high schools, namely, Sekonyela (Mokhotlong), Matlakala (Leribe), Assumption (Berea), St John Tlali (Maseru), Mathula (Mafeteng), Likuena (Mohale’s Hoek), Semonkong (Maseru), Holy Trinity (Quthing) and Katse (Thaba Tseka).
“When we piloted this course in 2014, we were using the Cambridge syllabus but throughout that time we worked on making the syllabus local and it will now focus on the tourism of Lesotho,” Ms Ramokoena said.
“We decided to introduce the subject because we realised that would contribute towards the development of our economy because developing knowledge from the high school level will make it easier for the students to effectively choose whether they wish to further their studies when they reach tertiary level,” she added.
Assumption High School emerged victorious at the prize giving ceremony where it competed with Sekonyela, Matlakeng and St John Tlali schools.
The contest was an initiative of LTDC in partnership with ECOL aimed at creating awareness and instilling the love of tourism in the younger generation. Five students from Assumption were each presented with a flash disc loaded with tourism information, a thermal flask and a school bag branded with the LTDC logo.
In a statement, LTDC said the introduction of the Travel and Tourism subject was prompted by the importance of tourism in Lesotho’s economy.
“This was done as a strategy to realise the goal of reducing unemployment and alleviating poverty, whilst also advocating for the growth of tourism industry in Lesotho. The growth of the sector dictates the need for an increased workforce if the industry is to realise its potential to make a meaningful contribution to the economy.
“Learning travel and tourism will help students develop a sense of ethical responsibility and hospitality culture – a factor also important in transformation of the local communities to embrace tourism best practices so as to achieve the goal of sustainable development,” the LTDC stated.
The LTDC also said apart from developing general intellectual skills, tourism also helped develop students’ adaptability to the “rapidly changing environment and societal behaviour, thus, acquiring a set of knowledge, concepts and skills that can be applied in various life situations within and outside the industry”.
LTDC Head of Investment Promotion Mamello Morojele urged the prize winners to further their knowledge as they were the new ambassadors of tourism.
“I encourage you the new ambassadors of tourism to engage in our community development projects such as rural home stay initiatives which will allow you to earn money from tourists every time they visit your areas. Acquiring more knowledge can also help you become tour operators or guides which are also a form of employment,” she said.