Climate change training bears fruit
THE Ministry of Education and Training says the countrywide primary school teachers and principals’ training on climate change adaption and mitigation strategies has started to yield positive results.
The Ministry’s Subject Specialist Khothatso Maraisane this week told the Lesotho Times the 30 schools that had been trained on food production had become food secure and this had enabled the ministry to secure more funding to continue the training programme.
Teachers and principals from 30 primary schools were trained in sustainable land management, conservation agriculture and food as well as nutrition and gardening.
“The training yielded positive results as the 30 trained schools became food secure,” Mr Maraisane said.
Following this success, the ministry has embarked on a further training exercise for teachers and principals from 310 primary schools countrywide.
The training started at the beginning of the month with 198 schools from Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka, Qacha’s Nek, Quthing, Mohale’s Hoek, Mafeteng and Leribe benefitting.
“The training is targeting agriculture teachers and their principals from 310 primary schools countrywide. It is informed by the National Curriculum and Assessment Policy which includes emerging issues like climate change adaption and mitigation in our national school curriculum,” Mr Maraisane said.
Mr Maraisane said members of the National Conservation Agriculture Task Force team found it necessary to train the teachers and principals because they were never exposed to the climate change module when they first trained as teachers.
Mr Maraisane said teachers and principals were encouraged to in turn educate their students so that they also practised conservation agriculture in their own homes.
“In Sesotho we say thupa e otlolloa esale metsi (catch them when they are young). Given that most children turned herdboys are grade 6 dropouts, we strongly believe that taking them through these lessons would help in their behavioural change,” he said.
He said herd boys were very critical in the fight against wetlands degradation, soil erosion and conservation farming and that ‘catching’ them while they were still in primary schools would strengthen the fight.
“We need to make sure that they fully appreciate that this country belongs to them and their actions will come back to bite them one day if they do not change their behaviour towards the environment and other natural resources now.
“It is projected that by 2030-50 the world will be experiencing severe heat and if we do not teach key stakeholders like herd boys to stop emitting greenhouse gases (GHGs) now, they will suffer with their children,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LGDA) wants law enforcement agencies to enforce laws designed to protect the environment from human actions.
LHDA Polihali Manager Gerard Mokone said the authority was working hard to protect the vulnerable environment due to climate change.
“We are doing everything in our power to protect the environment against human actions and some of the actions taken include the awareness programmes on the protection of wetlands,” Mr Mokone said during a media briefing this week.
“Most of our wetlands that supply water to the dams are situated right where cattle posts are and it is our responsibility to sensitise herd boys about the importance of protecting wetlands, rangelands and other natural resources,” he said.
He said that while they were aware of the huge progress made in sensitising the public on the sustainable use of natural resources, the big issue was enforcing laws to protect the environment.
He said the authority could only advise the law enforcement agencies to “enforce these laws and ensure that our precious wetlands are protected”.