By: Puseletso Maqoaelane

Maseru – The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Lesotho College of Education (LCE) have partnered to provide scholarships for Basotho students.

This initiative aims to support deserving individuals by offering financial assistance for their education, helping them to achieve their academic goals and build a brighter future. This event takes place on the second floor of the Mangoaela Library at Lesotho College of Education.

Moqephe Mathe as the Catholic Relief Services Acting Country Representative mentions that CRS through its Bokamoso Ba Bana (3B) project, has just launched one of the most ambitious scholarship programs.

He mentions that the project aims to provide school meals to improve literacy by reducing short-term hunger and increasing attentiveness and classroom attendance among primary school learners.

Furthermore, the project provides teacher training in foundational literacy methodologies and produces training materials for school administrators and teachers to build capacity.

In addition, the project supports Early Childhood Care and Development by building parent and teacher knowledge of ECCD. The 3B project offers scholarships to Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) teachers from Mokhotlong, Thaba Tseka, and Semonkong where the project is implemented. He also mentions that these scholarships will support teachers to pursue a certificate in Early Childhood Education with LCE.

He says that the scholarship program presents an opportunity for ECCD teachers to acquire skills in early childhood development and successfully support the development of young children in Lesotho. Although they may have qualifications in their professions, most ECCD teachers in Lesotho are neither trained nor certified in early childhood education.

The 3B project is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural services under the auspices of the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program.

Mathe elaborates that the scholarship program will cover tuition fees only for recipients to complete the certificate in Early Childhood Education at LCE. Scholarship recipients will need to cover additional education-related costs as required.

How to make the most of the scholarship program?

He says there are approximately twenty-five scholarships available per year from 2024 to 2026. Only applicants from Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka, and Semonkong will be considered.

Applicants should apply for the certificate in Early Childhood Education, once admitted, CRS and LCE will interview and further assess applicants who meet the scholarship criteria; this will include background verification.

Dr. Moeketsi Letele as the LCE Rector acting mentions that this scholarship program offered by CRS comes as a beacon of hope and a testament to the power of collaboration and shared vision. It is an investment in teachers, students, and ultimately, the future of the nation.

Also by providing this support, CRS is helping to remove financial barriers that may hinder talented and passionate educators from pursuing further training and professional development.

With this scholarship, ECCD teachers will have the opportunity to enhance their education, engage in professional development, implement best practices, and also build a stronger community.

On behalf of the Minister of Education, Maselloane Sehlabi, “extends the deepest gratitude to Catholic Relief Services for their unwavering support and commitment to the advancement of early childhood education in Lesotho, the investment to the teachers is an investment to their children, future and overall development of the nation.”

The scholarship program offered by Catholic Relief Services for Early Childhood Care and Development teachers represents a significant step forward in enhancing educational opportunities in Lesotho. By providing financial support and access to advanced training, this initiative not only empowers ECCD teachers but also enriches the educational experience for young children across the nation.

The impact of well-trained ECCD teachers cannot be overstated. They play a crucial role in laying the foundation for children’s future academic success and overall development. With the support of CRS, these educators can further hone their skills, adopt innovative teaching methods, and contribute meaningfully to the educational landscape of Lesotho.

Looking ahead, it is essential to continue fostering partnerships and initiatives that prioritize early childhood education. Investing in educators today ensures a brighter tomorrow for the children and communities.