MASERU — Five Basotho students were on Tuesday awarded scholarships to pursue post-graduate studies in Australia.
The five — Matseliso Lebesa, ‘Malehano Letlema, Teboho Martins, Tsiping Ntema and Mpotseng Pama — will leave for Australia early next year.
Lebesa is set to enrol for a Masters in Public Policy and Management while Letlema will enrol for a Masters in Agricultural Economics.
Martins will enrol for a Masters in Rural Systems and Management with Ntema studying for a Masters in Public Policy.
Pama will read for a Masters in Human Resource Management.
Australia’s special envoy Bob McMullan handed over the scholarships at a colourful ceremony at Lesotho Sun hotel on Tuesday night.
McMullan, who is visiting to promote closer co-operation between Australia and Lesotho, said his country is committed to investing in Africa and connecting the two continents.
He said his visit was aimed at discussing ways of helping sub-Saharan countries to reach the Millennium Development Goals and deal with the effects of climate change.
“We are committed to promoting stronger engagement of Australia in development and we believe education is for an individual and for the whole country,” McMullan said.
The Australian scholarship programme runs back to the 1960s and has seen Lesotho sending 138 nationals to study in the country.
Australia’s High Commissioner, Ann Harrap, said the scholarship programme was intended to strengthen public sector capacity.
“The programme is open to public sector employees who would return and help develop their countries with the education acquired,” Harrap said.
Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister Mannete Ramaili thanked the government of Australia for awarding the scholarships to Basotho nationals.
“Education is one’s wealth that cannot be taken away.
“We are really thankful that the government of Australia has assisted in developing our country,” Ramaili said.
She urged the students to be good ambassadors for the country and return better equipped to develop Lesotho.
One of the scholarship winners, Ntema, said she was humbled by the award and promised to return home to work in the government sector.
“I will be studying for a Masters in Public Policy for a year and six months,” said Ntema who currently works for the Lesotho Correctional Services.
The Australian scholarship programme currently has 3 600 scholars from southern Africa.