Fokothi launches four degree programmes



MASERU – Lerotholi Polytechnic (LP), popularly known as Fokothi, has launched four new degree programmes aimed at addressing the economic, social, and cultural challenges facing Lesotho. This development was announced during the unveiling of LP’s five-year strategic plan, which covers April 2024 to March 2029.

The new degrees include a Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Computer Engineering, a Bachelor of Engineering in Power Systems, a Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Electronics and Telecommunications, and a Bachelor of Engineering in Irrigation and Drainage. At the launch event, LP Rector, Professor Spirit Tlali said the strategic plan is designed to guide LP as it aims to become a leading science and technology university in Southern Africa.

He proudly noted the introduction of these fully accredited engineering degrees as a critical milestone towards achieving university status. LP, established in 1905, has evolved from focusing solely on craft programmes to offering a broad range of technical, engineering, and commercial education.

“Over the years, LP has maintained its status as the sole provider of high-quality technical and vocational education in the country. Our focus remains steadfast on delivering educational programmes that meet the national needs in areas such as construction, telecommunications, commerce, hospitality and tourism, locomotives, and design,” said Professor Tlali.

He explained that the strategic plan was crafted under challenging conditions, with LP’s autonomy and financial sustainability at stake. “We are acutely aware of the difficult times ahead, but we remain optimistic as we enter a new era of development for our esteemed institution, a legacy from our founding father, Chief Lekena Lerotholi Letsie, as we transition to a university of technology,” he said.

Professor Tlali said the strategic plan is more than just a list of goals; it represents the resilience, adaptability, and unwavering commitment to excellence that define LP. “Our ambition to become a university has been a part of us since 2013 and has been included in every strategic plan since then. Despite the challenges we have faced, we continue to push forward in pursuit of our goals,” he noted.

Professor Harmony Musiyarira from the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) emphasised the importance of designing educational programmes that meet the needs of national development and future industries. He said graduates must be equipped to contribute positively to Lesotho and the broader Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

Prof. Musiyarira commended LP for its robust start but highlighted the need for improved staff development. He also underscored the importance of securing government commitments through the Ministry of Education to aid the university in resource development. He added: “As a staff member at Namibia University, one is allowed to study there free of charge. We need to break down silos, work as a unified team, and support one another.”

Chief Lerotholi originally founded Lerotholi Polytechnic in 1894 as the first technical and vocational school in Lesotho. The institution’s first building was constructed in 1905, introducing various trade courses. The curriculum expanded in 1929 to include new skills and trades. Reverend Nelson Fargothy was appointed as the first principal. In 1960, the school transitioned to focus more on artisanal training, becoming the Lerotholi Technical Institute (LTI).

The 1970s and 1980s saw the establishment of two additional schools: the Commercial Training Institute (CTI) and the Technician Training School (TTS), both originating from the Ministry of Works. In 1991, these three schools merged to form what is now known as Lerotholi Polytechnic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *