CRS, LCE collaborate on early childhood learning


MASERU – The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Lesotho College of Education (LCE) have entered into a collaborative effort focused on Early Childhood Development (ECD) with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this week.

CRS, through its Bokamoso Ba Bana (3B) project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), aims to enhance literacy by addressing short-term hunger among primary school learners, thereby increasing attentiveness and classroom attendance.

This initiative has expanded into a scholarship partnership with LCE specifically targeting early childhood care and development teachers in Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka, and Semonkong.

The scholarship programme, running from June 2024 to March 2026, will support 25 teachers annually in pursuing a Certificate in Early Childhood Education (CECE) at LCE.

It covers tuition fees only, with recipients responsible for additional educational expenses, subject to LCE admission criteria.

“These districts were chosen due to low nutrition and literacy rates, as well as other budgetary constraints identified through research on program implementation,” explained CRS representative Maqephe Mathe.

In addition, CECE enrolment is open to Form C/Grade 10 and Form E ECCD teachers with significant experience in early childhood learning.

“This is a significant day for the college, as CRS supports our mission of teacher training. While we traditionally train preschool teachers, they do not receive sponsorship from NMDS,” noted ‘Mamthimkhulo Matsoso, Director of Education. She recognised the substantial achievements of CRS and LCE through their scholarship programme.

“Today marks a significant milestone in our journey to equip our educational system, particularly our educators, with essential early childhood education skills through the scholarship programme,” said Acting Director of LCE, Moeketsi Letele.

He said this partnership will add considerable value to early childhood education and provide prospective students with enrolment opportunities.

Since 2007, LCE has aimed to bridge gaps in early childhood education, leading to the development of CECE. Initiatives by organisations like CRS ensure the college can achieve its goals.

“The Government of Lesotho welcomes this collaboration between LCE and CRS. Education is viewed as an investment, and we appreciate CRS’s support for Lesotho,” remarked Thabo Ntoi from the Finance Ministry.

“Early childhood care and development is a critical period of growth, encompassing milestones like walking, talking, and cognitive development,” added Chief Executive Officer Tertiary ’Maselloane Sehlabo.

She noted that fostering partnerships between higher education institutions and the private sector aligns with the Ministry of Education’s goals.