School admission rules spelt out

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Pascalinah Kabi

THE Ministry of Education and Training has announced that public secondary schools are at liberty to admit grade seven learners outside their immediate catchment areas, only after eligible learners have all been admitted.

In 2014, Lesotho introduced a new primary school curriculum designed to respond to the changing educational needs in Lesotho.

The new curriculum is aimed at enabling the delivery of education for individual and social development, equipping learners and the nation’s capacity to meet the challenges of a globalised world.

Piloted in 79 primary schools across the country, primary school learners who were first introduced to the new curriculum in 2014, are now in grade seven and set to write their transitional examination next week.

The Ministry of Education and Training Principal Secretary, Mr Thabiso Lebese said an external circular notice released on 30 September 2017 was intended to guide both parents and schools on how to proceed to secure Grade eight admissions. This follows the abolishment of national primary school leaving examinations, which were also used for secondary education admission.

Dr Lebese said the circular was further intended to guide principals in public secondary schools on how to admit learners into their eighth grade.

“We are urging primary schools to ensure that all grade seven learners and their teachers remain in school until closure on 29 November 2017,” Dr Lebese said.

In the said circular, schools were requested to comply with the new admission requirements, in accordance with the Education Act.

Dr Lebese explained that this notice provided the admission criteria to be followed by all public secondary schools.

“Application forms to be used by grade seven learners for their transition into grade eight may be collected by primary school principals from District Education Offices from 9 October 2017.

“Parents should select two schools in order of preference, located near to their residential home where the child normally stays. Parents and teachers are encouraged to advise grade seven learners to select schools nearest to where they stay,” he said.

He said learners who completed grade seven before the current year, and had been admitted into grade eight before, should request for forms from the last primary school they attended.

Dr Lebese further explained that only forms bearing the stamp and signature of the principal of the primary school where the learner was attending will be considered.

School principals are expected to submit all completed forms to the District Education Office on the first day of November.

“The forms will then be forwarded to the secondary schools within the catchment area and based on first preference.”

In cases where parents select schools in another catchment, Dr Lebese said parents will have to submit the application forms to the preferred schools.

“Secondary schools can admit learners based on the transition forms submitted through the Education Office, giving priority to those learners from their feeder primary schools and the villages nearest to the school.”

Where there are no grade eight places before all eligible learners are admitted, the remaining forms are to be returned to the District Education Office together with a list of the admitted learners.

“Importantly, schools may admit learners from outside their catchment area only after all eligible learners have been admitted,” Dr Lebese said.

In the case of boarding schools, Dr Lebese said, admissions are to prioritise learners with special needs, vulnerable children, and those from households where there are no secondary schools within a walking distance.

The list of admitted learners shall be displayed in all secondary schools and will also be available at the District Education Office.

Dr Lebese said where parents had queries regarding the admission of their children, they may discuss with the principals of the secondary schools where applications were tendered.

If still not satisfied, parents are urged to raise their issues with the District Education Manager.

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