Earlier this winter, I visited some of my friends at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). These dedicated ladies are doing “distance learning” to get their Bachelors in Education. This means that during the school year, they are full time teachers at our rural primary school. During school holidays (winter break, summer break, and even shorter holidays like Easter), they are full-time students at the university, with classes for 8 hours, 6 days a week. It takes 4 years to get a B.Ed degree in this way.
My visit made me want to learn more about higher education and teacher training in Lesotho, and I want to share what I’ve learned!
All of the teachers at my school, regardless of whether they have or are pursuing their Bachelor’s Degree, have a Diploma in Primary Education. This means that after finishing secondary school, they went to the Lesotho College of Education (a tertiary school, not a university) to study teaching methology and complete student teaching. This gives them the accreditation to start applying to teaching jobs. Side note – teachers in Lesotho are paid by government grants, and unfortunately, many qualified diploma-holders are currently unemployed due to a shortage of such grants. If you’re interested in learning more, the college’s website is located here!
Because all of the teachers at my school already have diplomas and years of classroom teaching, they are coming at their university degrees with the perspective of experienced teachers. Each university student chooses a few subjects to specialize in (e.g. English, Science & Technology, Maths, etc.), and they also study methodology and child development.
While visiting, I sat in on an English class on the topic of listening. I also helped my friend study for her exam about the stages of child development and how they impact learning. It was great to meet my friends’ classmates and to be around so many students from all over the country!
The National University of Lesotho is located in Roma, a Catholic mission town near the capital of Maseru. There has been a school there since 1945, when a group of South African Catholics formed the first iteration of the university. NUL as it exists today was founded in 1975. Today it offers all kinds of degrees, ranging from B.A. and B.S. programs to Masters of Education to a single doctorate program in Philosophy! The website for NUL is here if you want to read more.