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 in Lesotho 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.