Management and Administration of Education
Formal education functions through a strong partnership between the Government, school proprietors (church groups), and the local communities (parents). This was facilitated by the passing of the Education Act in 1995. This Act legally underpinned the agreement between the MOET and the churches to collaborate in the education service delivery. It also provided for increased participation by parents and called for all primary and secondary schools to establish School Advisory and Management Committees. The committee members comprise representatives from the MOET, churches and parents. The Education Act has also facilitated commendable progress in resolving the church/state conflict over the management of schools. However, much work needed to be done to enforce the Act and to continue training school committees in their new roles. Additional efforts were required to further define the appropriate roles for the churches and the state in provision of education. Part of the credit received from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Second Education Sector Development Programme (ESDP II) – 1999 to 2012 would be used to train the committees in their new roles
More than 90 percent of primary and 80 percent of secondary schools were legally owned by churches. In the 1980s and before, church secretaries were responsible for hiring, firing, deploying and disciplining teachers. However, when church resources for financing recurrent and capital costs dried up, the GOL (Government of Lesotho) became more involved and began providing grants for teachers’ salaries, instructional materials and infrastructure. Further more MOET designs and develops the curriculum to be taught in the schools. In addition to looking after the entire education system through various departments of the Ministry, it is charged with the responsibilities of the pronouncement of policy, the setting of standards, the training of teachers, the formal approval of teachers’ appointments, dismissals and deployment, the administration of examinations, school inspection, and the regulation of the opening and closing of schools.
The Ministry began implementing its decentralization plan, during the ESDP I – 1992 to 1996, by building District Resource Centers and legalizing School Advisory and Management Committees. Interaction with the schools including supervisory, monitoring and evaluation activities are performed at the school level through the inspectorate. The role of the inspectorate in the schools is largely advisory; following a site inspection, reports are sent to head teachers, school managers, and church secretaries for action and to the Ministry of Education for general planning and policy formulation and, if necessary, follow-up action. Head teachers’ roles involve the allocation of tasks to respective teachers, supervising the work in order to ensure that set objectives are met, providing support and guidance where it is necessary, and finding possibilities for teachers to get professional development.
To improve education governance further, during the plan period, the MOET was restructured. Four main divisions were created, each with a head at the Deputy Principal Secretary level. The intention of the restructuring was to streamline MOET structures and decentralize decision making. However, the roles and responsibilities of central officers versus district and other officers were still not clearly delineated. As a result, most decisions continued to be taken centrally at headquarters. For the system to function efficiently, it would be necessary to spell out the roles and responsibilities of the lower tiers of the management structure.
In the final analysis, the education of Lesotho began as a partnership and it still is a partnership affair. It is the property of parents, children, teachers, church proprietors, advisory school committees, management committees, school boards, Government and the Nation as a whole.
See the SACMEQ reports for more information.