By Thandiwe Kubere
The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) officially handed over 245 laptops and other essential information and communications technology equipment. This was funded by the World Bank to afford junior secondary science and mathematics teachers from 69 schools in the ten districts of Lesotho essential study material. This was also undertaken as part of strengthening the education system in Lesotho and contributing to better learning.
The equipment supplied also included modems for internet access, flash drives, and accompanying solar panels for schools in rural areas where there is no electricity. Science education is key to innovation, global competitiveness, and the advancement of individuals; therefore, meeting teachers halfway with the necessary resources to capacitate students is vital.
In his remarks, the Minister of Education and Training, Honourable Ntoi Rapapa, revealed the selection of schools was done in a rather unusual way because normally, this kind of equipment would have been handed to schools that already perform well so that they do even better, but this time, low-performing schools were selected as a way of contributing to their learning so that they can perform better and excel in their studies as well.
He also noted that teaching scientific subjects is already a challenge, and it becomes even worse when there is lack of essential equipment, because science requires practical teaching and experiments to ensure effective learning. This therefore prompted the Ministry, with the aid of the World Bank, to contribute towards that need.
Hon. Rapapa declared that this act will be helpful in the long run and is of significant nature because maths and science play a major role in the development of the country. Science education plays a crucial role in the development of a country because it equips individuals with the skills to understand and solve problems in fields such as healthcare, technology, and the environment.
He further thanked those working in the Basic Education Strengthening Project and training who work tirelessly to change the education system in Lesotho for the better. He urged the teachers to use the equipment to assist students even beyond school premises, for they have a responsibility to guide students and aid them even in their personal lives. “We have received a huge number of unpleasant reports that children who should be in schools engage in a lot of drug use, and we hope you will conduct research and scientifically educate them on the adverse consequences of such actions. The future of this country is in science and technology, he said.
Speaking on behalf of teachers, Lesotho Science and Maths Teachers Association President Keketso Leteba extended gratitude to both the Ministry and the World Bank, declaring this will come in handy because, from now on, we will not have to witness students struggle due to only being taught theory and lacking the necessary practical and being hands-on on their work, which will in turn help them grasp even more. “We believe students will greatly improve because now we will easily access the internet and display visually what we are teaching about. This is a huge contribution, especially now that we are living in the 21st century; where technology is evidently taking over. Having modems to easily access the internet is a cherry on top. We also promise to take very good care of this equipment, and we assure that it will benefit both us and our students,” he concluded.