BY : Thoboloko Ntšonyane

LERIBE – Thabo Ratia could not contain himself with joy at the news he had prominently distinguished himself by coming out at the top of the Lesotho General Certificate of Secondary Education (LGCSE) class of 2022.

This transpired during the announcement of the LGCSE 2022 results by the Minister of Education and Training last Wednesday.

Ratia has scored seven A*.

The outstanding achiever is from Leribe English Medium High School.

The soft-spoken Ratia attributed his success to hard work and dedication.

He said neither the cold weather nor hunger would deter him to focus on studying when asked what his secret was for passing with flying colours.

“I am much honored to have made it in the list of the top achievers as the top 1. It is not of my wisdom that I made it, it is because of prayer, God saw that I wanted to work hard and He came through for me,” he said.

He wished those who will be sitting for examinations well.

Ratia sat for the LGCSE examination as a Form E student.

Although he is yet to make up his mind on where he wishes to pursue his studies in the institutions of higher learning, the top 1 student said he wants to study gynecology or neurobiology. His choice he said is motivated by a dearth of expertise in this medical area in the country adding that seeing people going for these services outside the country “worries” him.

Reacting to these developments, Leribe English Medium High School’s Principal Thapelo Fosa said Ratia’s performance has made them “very proud” adding that “it’s an emulation of many others who made sure that our school’s name is synonymous with hard work and excellence”.

“This performance reignites the spirit of doing extraordinarily well in all of us after two years of uncertainty and abnormal schooling due to Coronavirus,” he said.

The Principal described Ratia as a reserved and down-to-earth person, who rarely talks in class unless spoken to, but when he writes he would give it all.

Fosa said being a student in their school is already a “motivation” big enough for one to do well in their studies adding that they always motivate their students and teachers alike to aim for excellence. He continued: “We always want to beat our last performance and our students work hard towards this.”

Ratia has earned his spot in the Leribe English Medium High School’s hall of fame.

Prof Rapaaid Ratia’s class was the last to sit for the Form E examination as it has been phased out, and the students will go as far as Grade 11 who will now write the LGCSE. The Grade 11 students first sat for the LGCSE examination concurrently with the Form Es’ in 2021.

 He however noted that most of the students who did not make it were those in Grade 11.

The other high-ranking students are Sebolaoa Karabo Jermina of Botha-Bothe High School, Lefeela Paballo from Maputsoe Community High School, are the top two having scored six A*. The top three with five A* are Mphoso Thuto Precious, Letšela Mpati, Topia Mohammad Zaid, Mahloane Reatile the quartet from Lesotho High School, Tšosane Leqele of Malapo High School, Mohoase Kamohelo, Qeki Monwabisi, Tjokosela Relebohile Veronica the trio from St Stephen’s High School and Masenyetse Bokang Ishamael of Hope High School.

In the past years, the country would afford an opportunity to high-flying students to pursue their studies at the top universities in countries like the United States of America, Canada, and the United Kingdom, however, this practice had since stopped as the government claims poverty.

Asked why this is no longer the case, the MoET Principal Secretary (PS) Dr John Oliphant said that is the jurisdiction of the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) adding that they will be given the first priority.

The PS mentioned that this arrangement had also stopped as the countries that used to sponsor Lesotho are also now facing an economic crisis.

He further indicated that the Ministry is looking for ways to support these best-achieved students.

“To those candidates who have not been successful, please do not give in. Just remain focused and remember that through hard work and commitment, you will undoubtedly achieve better performance in [the] future,” the Minister said.

He continued: “We should continue to offer these learners support to overcome unprecedented obstacles in the continuing education journey”.