Education in Lesotho
Lesotho has made significant progress in its efforts towards Education for All by introducing Free Primary Education from 2000 through 2006, which was then reinforced to Free and Compulsory Primary Education by law in 2010. The net enrollment ratio in lower basic education increased from 82% to 95% between 2000 and 2010, and the gross enrollment ratio in grade 1 was 98% in 2014. Furthermore, the government engages in tangible efforts towards financing its system.
The education sector is allocated 23.3% of the government’s recurrent budget on average, which corresponds to 9.2% of the national GDP. Still, a diagnostic study conducted in 2015 highlighted that the education sector faces major challenges including:
- Poor retention rates at primary and secondary levels,
- Low student learning outcomes/achievements,
- Graduate with inadequate skills for the job market,
- High inefficiency in the system,
- HIV and AIDS, and
- Poor school governance.
In addition to these, the sector lacks adequate facilities and displays disparities across districts. For instance, mountainous districts experience difficulties to attract and retain teachers and show poorer performance compared to lowland districts.
To address these challenges, Lesotho has set strategic objectives in its Education Sector Strategic Plan for 2016-2026, which are to:
- Reform the national curriculum and assessment system to meet the needs of Lesotho.
- Improve access to comprehensive early childhood care and development, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
- Increase access to quality free and compulsory Lower Basic Education.
- Increase access to quality Secondary Education.
- Increase access to Technical and Vocational Education.
- Improve relevance of programs offered at Higher Learning Institutions.
- Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Non-Formal Education delivery
- Curb the spread of HIV and AIDS among sector employees, teachers and learners by 2025
- Improve strategic information, planning and accountability at all levels of the sector.
All amounts are in US dollars.
|Grant type||Years||Allocations||Disbursements||Grant agent|
|Sector plan development||2017||205,000||-||IBRD|
Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.
Primary completion rate (%)
Lower secondary completion rate
Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age
Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age
Pre-primary gross enrollment rate
Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary
Public expenditure on education as share of GDP (%)
Public expenditure on education as a share of public expenditure (%)
Students/trained teacher ratio
Teachers trained (%)
GPE in Lesotho
The new GPE grant of US$ 2.1 million to the Government of Lesotho has recently been approved for the Lesotho Basic Education Improvement Project (LBEIP). This project builds on the previous GPE-funded EFA-FTI-III project and is structured into three components: (i) improving the teaching and learning environment in targeted primary schools and associated pre-primary and junior secondary schools, (ii) strengthening school accountability for student learning and retention in targeted schools, (iii) strengthening institutional capacity and project management.
- Improving teaching and learning environment in targeted primary schools and associated pre-primary and junior secondary schools: this component helps improve the quality of classroom service delivery at the pre-primary, primary, and junior secondary school levels to help youth develop a strong foundation in literacy, numeracy, and cognitive skills,
- Strengthening school accountability for student learning and retention in targeted schools: this component aims to empower key actors at the school level to collectively decide and perform actions that contribute to student retention and enable them to learn through a school-based management model,
- Strengthening institutional capacity and project management: this component focuses on strengthening and developing the capacity of the Ministry of Education and Training to deliver on its agenda as stated in the education sector plan. It also supports project implementation activities and covers project management costs.
The main implementing agency of the project is the Ministry of Education and Training, and other entities are also involved in its implementation.
The previous GPE-funded program, which has recently ended, has contributed to the following significant progress in the education sector in Lesotho:
- 3,682 additional students were enrolled in classes supported by the project,
- 143 classrooms at the primary level were built, rehabilitated, and furnished, and 3 toilet blocks were constructed,
- Student-teacher ratio in primary schools decreased from 59:1 to 45:1,
- 380 additional qualified primary teachers and 11,158 teachers and principals were trained in the new curriculum,
- 1.1 million textbooks were purchased.