Teacher Development, Supply and Management

DTEP Final Report

Stakeholders Meeting for the support progamme for teachers in Lesotho

special education3Teachers constitute the single most important human resource input in the education system and account for a large proportion of public expenditure. Their development through education and training, employment and management has been recognised by the Government as a key priority in the national quest of Education for All in the plan period. 

The first teacher training colleges were established by missionaries and at independence there were seven, namely, St. Joseph’s Training College (for males), St. Mary’s Training College (for females), Mazenod Training College, Hermitage Training College, Morija Training College (for males), Morija Girls College (for females) and St. Catherine’s Training College23. The Government closed the seven church owned teacher training colleges in 1975 and established the National Teacher Training College (NTTC), now Lesotho College of Education (LCE).  

The NTTC was offering mainly the Primary Teachers’ Certificate (PTC) and the Secondary Teacher’s Certificate (STC). In an attempt to provide skills for unqualified teachers, some of whom did not have the school leaving certificate, college introduced the Lesotho In-service Education for Teachers (LIET) Course which would lead to ultimate certification. Some teachers managed only to complete one or two modules of the course (LIET I and LIET II) and have continued to serve as teachers. The college also introduced a technical education certificate for secondary schools. 

In its quest to improve both the quality and quantity of its teacher output, the LCE has reformed its programmes replacing the certificate programmes with diploma programmes demanding higher entrance requirements. There has also been an increase in intake in both pre-service and in-service programmes. Through a Distance Teacher Education Programme (DTEP) introduced in 2002, the LCE offers a four-year diploma for unqualified, serving teachers. The DTEP programme was introduced to mitigate the escalating number of unqualified teachers in primary schools especially due to the increased need for teachers following the introduction of Free Primary Education.

The National University of Lesotho (NUL), through the Faculty of Education (FED), provides pre-service teacher education programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels for secondary schools. These include four-year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degree and Bachelor of Science Education (B.Sc.Ed.). The University also offer a Bachelor of Education (primary) on a part-time basis, and its first output is expected at the end of 2005. Diploma programmes are also offered by the University in Agriculture (Dip.Agric.Ed.) and in Science (Dip.Sci.Ed). At post¬graduate levels the courses are a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.), Master of Education (M.Ed.) Master of Science Education (M.Sc.Ed.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Regarding teacher supply the Government’s concern is focused principally at quantitative and qualitative improvements.  The historical deficit of qualified teachers at primary and secondary levels has been exacerbated in recent times by increased enrolments and the high attrition rate. At the quantitative level, it is noteworthy that while teacher training has expanded, the demand for teachers still exceeds supply. The impact of under-qualified and unqualified teachers has a noticeable impact on the quality of education.  

At the qualitative level, the government recognizes that without sufficient, qualified and well-motivated teachers, most of the quality targets in this Strategic Plan would be difficult to achieve. The situation of teacher shortage and the subsequent high teacher turnover can only create an even higher need for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to re-skill teachers on innovative pedagogic approaches, emerging challenges in curricula, social issues, new technologies and management practices. The Government acknowledged the need for improved coordination and planning of CPD programmes informed by regular needs analyses. 

Whereas, at basic education and secondary levels, a majority of teachers are government employees, their management at school and at national level is shared responsibility of the government and school proprietors, especially churches that own the majority of schools. The partnership in teacher management between the MOET, Churches and teacher formations, entrenched in the Education Act, requires further refinement with greater clarity of roles and responsibilities. The current absence of a clear career structure for teachers has a generally de¬motivating effect on an average teacher at different levels of the education system. The resultant lack of upward mobility of teachers within the profession continues to affect the attractiveness of the profession and principally explains the high attrition rates, particularly at primary schools. Notwithstanding this, significant progress has been registered in the area of improving teacher education.  In 2003, 67.3% of primary school and 89.3% of secondary school teachers were fully qualified. At post-primary level, the high proportion of unqualified teachers has resulted in expatriate personnel accounting for 10% of teaching establishment. The imperative to significantly increase the output levels in teacher education programmes will remain high in the plan period if reasonable standards have to be achieved in ECCD, primary and secondary levels of education. Such expansion has to occur in a context a well-defined teacher training policy based on the principles of quality programming, cost-effectiveness and improved working conditions of teachers. 

Improving the conditions of service for teachers has been made more urgent than before in the light of the consequence of one of the priority goals for the sector, namely, increasing access and quality for basic education, as it can only be met with increased supply -and retention - of teachers. The quality goal of reducing student teacher ratios also entails the need to train more teachers to attain the Government’s PTR goal of 40:1 at primary level. The associated goal of raising the level of teacher qualifications has a direct effect on demand for teacher education and it is in this context that there is added justification for increased Government subsidy to teacher education programmes within institutions such as NUL and LCE. 

In its effort to improve the quality of teachers, the Government has placed considerable value on in-service training as an important aspect of teachers’ continuing professional development. In this regard, various institutions continue to contribute to the in-training of teachers. They include the Institute of Development Management (IDM), teachers’ organizations and other Ministry of Education departments, NUL education units (the Faculty of Education and the Institute of Education) and LCE. Individuals and groups of consultants are sometimes commissioned by MOET to offer short in-service courses for teachers on specific topics. The NUL Faculty of Education, through its Induction Programme, for example, runs regular short-term in-service training workshops for fresh graduate teachers. 

The qualitative and quantitative impact of HIV and AIDS on teachers has been estimated to be high. Although there may be a corresponding reduction in the number of school-going age population as a result of HIV and AIDS, the rising death rate among teachers still means that additional teachers will have to be trained to meet the sectoral projections especially in the light of the anticipated increases in student numbers resulting from EFA, FPE and universal basic education goals.