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By: Mpho Shelile

To spark excitement to learners and give a lift to the less privileged parents the Ministry of Education and Training held a press conference at MoET Headquarters’ Monday the 08th January with the sole purpose of donating school necessities to assist students in need. 

In a world where access to quality education is not evenly distributed, the plight of underprivileged learners becomes increasingly apparent. Recognizing the importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty, the ministry of education aims to bring Basotho together to make a significant impact in the lives of underprivileged students. This initiative involves the donation of essential school utensils to students facing financial hardships, ensuring they have the necessary tools needed to pursue their educational dreams.

In his remarks the Minister of Education and Training, Hon. Ntoi Rapapa indicated that poverty and climate change have impacted some of the learners badly and has affected their ability to learn. He further stated that African Union (AU) has marked the year 2024 as an educational year, stating that every African country is expected to participate on this day towards improving the educational systems. Stating that the main objective throughout the whole year starting on the 29th January, is for everyone to donate and invest in the educational system.

He also reminded Basotho that the government has marked the last Monday of January as “Back to School day”, so he asked local businesses, organizations, and individuals to join forces in contributing towards this good cause. Stating that the collaborative effort is to ensure that a wide range of school utensils, including notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, backpacks, schools uniforms and schools fees are collected and distributed. Adding that the impact of these contributions will demonstrate the power of unity in addressing socio-economic challenges and ensure that no child is left behind.

He explained that education is often hailed as the key to unlocking opportunities and creating a better future. However, many children around the world face barriers to learning, with financial constraints being a major obstacle. The donation of school utensils aims to alleviate this burden, enabling students to focus on their studies without worrying about lacking the necessary tools.

He further indicated that the impact of this donation is to extend beyond the tangible items provided. For the recipients, it will pass as a message of hope and encouragement, affirming that there is someone out there who believes they have potential to succeed. “I hope that the donated school utensils will not only address immediate needs but also convey the importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty and will empower students through their academic journey.”  

Hon. Ntoi Rapapa stressed that this initiative will strengthen the educational systems, so he again asked teachers, too, to join in on the excitement as they prepare to mold young minds and impart knowledge. Reminding them that the opportunity to inspire, challenge, and guide students on their educational journey is a responsibility that educators approach with dedication and passion.

Adding that the first day back is a chance to set the tone for a year of growth, curiosity, and mutual respect. As every New Year brings its own set of changes and challenges. Whether it is adjusting to a new grade, making new friends, or adapting to different teaching styles, students are constantly navigating a sea of experiences that contribute to their personal and academic growth. Adding that similarly, teachers face the challenge of tailoring their approach to meet the diverse needs of their students, fostering an inclusive and engaging classroom environment and encouraging resilience and perseverance. Hon. Rapapa advised teachers to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and learning from setbacks with a positive attitude that can shape the entire school year with learners.

In conclusion, Hon Ntoi Rapapa said as students, teachers and parents embark on this new chapter of the school year, they should all embrace back to school day with open hearts and eager minds. Whether they are students, teachers, or parents, they should remember that each day holds the potential for discovery, growth, and triumph.  Adding that together, they can create an environment where education is not just a destination but a journey filled with curiosity, exploration, and the joy of learning.

Most importantly note that the donations of school utensils to underprivileged learners serves as a beacon of hope, highlighting the transformative power of education and collaboration. “By addressing the immediate needs of students, this initiative contributes to breaking the cycle of poverty and is sure to inspire a sense of community responsibility. As we celebrate this heartwarming effort, it is a reminder that small actions can lead to significant change, creating a brighter future for all.” He concluded by urging Basotho to not be seen using tobacco and alcohol on that day since students are prohibited from using them.