MASERU – An education project in Lesotho, financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and implemented between 2008 and 2016, has provided the country with new primary and secondary school infrastructure and teacher training to enhance educational quality, according to a recently published report by Bank.
The Support to Education Quality Enhancement (EDUC III) project was financed by a grant of $9.3 million (M160 million) and a loan of $2 million (M34 million) from the African Development Fund, which provides concessional loans and grants to low-income countries.
The eight-year project focused on improving the quality of primary and secondary instruction and building skills to give young people access to better job opportunities. According to an AfDF statement issued in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on completion of the project, 12 secondary schools had been built or modernised, including 35 new classrooms, seven administrative buildings, 12 science laboratories, two girls’ residences, kitchens and dining halls.
Housing units for students and staff and toilet blocks were also constructed, according to the project completion report led by Patience Ugonma Ekoh, senior education analyst at the African Development Bank. According to the report, “the project not only increased the number of personnel qualified for secondary education, which is essential to improve educational quality, it also met the education ministry’s urgent need to improve access to high-quality secondary education.”
In addition to the planned training of 1 500 secondary teachers, 1 718 others were trained in instructional methods; some 1 312 teachers of the forecast 1 400 received workplace training on these methods. Eighteen staff members took study tours and three completed their long-term training and received their Master’s Degrees.
A total of 140 000 books and 2 860 teachers’ guides were distributed in secondary schools. For primary instruction, at least 1 400 teachers received one week of specialised instructional training, and 160 trained to become instructors themselves. Additionally, 1 600 non-qualified teachers enrolled in degree programmes. Trainings were also held for 2 200 teachers (three per school) in appropriate instructional methods.
Due to limited resources, only one female staff member in TVET participated in a Master’s Degree programme out of the four expected beneficiaries. The project’s short-term training targets were fully met. “The project’s development goals were largely achieved,” the report concluded, continuing “the new infrastructure, teacher training, and the development of curricula helped improve enrolment rates and the advancement rate in primary and secondary instruction in Lesotho.”