Ministry fails to supply books

MASERU —  The Ministry of Education and Training has failed to supply stationery to government-owned primary schools.

Most of the schools have not received books, pens, pencils and chalk from the ministry’s primary school supply unit since the beginning of the first term.

Primary school teachers interviewed by the Lesotho Times said they have had to ask parents to buy stationery for children.

The decision has however been met with anger by some parents who suspect they are being ripped off by the primary schools.

Learning has been disrupted in some schools in poor communities where some parents have not been able to buy stationery for their children.

Teachers said they have had to tear off leaves from notebooks to give to students so that they can continue with their school work.

Some said students had to use their old notebooks to write exercises.

“Students do not have stationery. The school supply unit has not distributed stationery which was to be used when schools re-opened in January,” a teacher at one Maseru primary school who preferred to remain anonymous said.

The teacher said “no one from the ministry of education has ever come forward to say why stationery was not distributed”.

“We have not been notified why stationery has not been supplied. We have no idea what caused the delay or when we can expect to get it,” the teacher said.

The manager of the school supply unit, ‘Mabakubung Seutloali, said the delay was a result of a court order which stopped the process of selecting a potential supplier in July last year.

“There was a delay because a High Court order forced the ministry to hold the processes of finding a supplier.

“When the case was over it was already too late to buy the stationery because shops had closed for the Christmas break,” Seutloali said.

She said the school supply unit will finally start distributing the stationery on Monday.

“The supply is finally here and we are beginning distributing on Monday. We will begin to distribute in areas which are more difficult to access,” she said.

She said only Standard One students did not have stationery.

She said the situation was not too desperate because during the first three weeks of class one, students are not busy.

“There should not be too much desperation. Class one students can take a break-through approach which can go up to three weeks before they use their stationery.”

The break-through approach is a method used to familiarise first graders to the school environment.

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