Closing down private schools misguided

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I WISH to comment on your last week’s lead story on the closure of illegal schools operating in Lesotho.

I hope my comments will serve as an eye-opener to all your readers and the country at large.

When the government takes stringent measures to rectify our education system it is clear that it is the right course of action.

It is another matter though when the move destroys Lesotho’s ailing education system.

The editorial comment which appeared in the Lesotho Times Views section suggested that the government should come up with alternatives to private schools.

But the question is: Is there a need for an alternative when one already exists?

Private schools have existed in Lesotho for many years some even as far back as 2000.

They have provided an alternative to many students who could not enroll at government schools.

These students and many others would not have otherwise been in school if private schools had not provided an alternative.

While the Education Act 2010 is properly focused and is indeed needed, it is very clear that its implementation will have far reaching negative effects to the very educational system it is geared to rectify.

To make the point clear: here is a scenario.

Suppose you want to build a nice house for a neighbour who has been sheltering in a shack. 

Before you build the new house, would it be proper to demolish the shack and promise a new house to the neighbour while he/she is on the streets?

Before the government provided an alternative it did away with alternatives to government schools.

Where does this leave the students?

The decision to shut down the private schools will have far reaching consequences and will affect the readjustment programme of the education system.

The children who had been enrolled in these illegal schools will be affected.

While it is true that some of these schools were established along business lines it is also true that they afforded desperate students an opportunity to pursue their education.

Thousands of Basotho children benefited a lot with some of them pursuing further education at tertiary institutions and became better persons.

We also need to look at the economic impact on the employees who worked in these schools.

There are no jobs in Lesotho and it is disheartening to see the people’s government treat workers like this.

All sectors of the national government need each other.

Rectifying problems in the educational sector should not have devastating consequences on the people.

In my opinion the government should have provided better schools as an alternative before it closed the unregistered ones.

These schools should have contributed on their own to the collapse of private schools in Lesotho.

Secondly, the government should have provided the private schools with a provisional registration period to allow them to adjust to the government’s standards.

The unfortunate path that has been taken is to demolish the neighbours’ shack and let them wait in the rain because a better house will be built for them.

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