NUL/School Leadership in Lesotho
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School Leadership in Lesotho
Management and leadership of education in Lesotho was conducted via a partnership between the government (i.e., the Ministry of Education)and the churches. In recent years, parents and community leaders have also been foemally recognised as partners in provision of education and mamagement of schools. Each of the parties in the partnership, commonly referred to as the tripatite, maintains some clearly identifiable roles and responsibilities, formally delineated in the current 1995 Education Bill.
The role of government
The government through the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) is responsible for educational policy. It is also the only authority that can approve or deny the establishment of a new school or the authorization for a school to be upgraded through the addition of a grade level. Other roles include:
- paying teachers' salaries;
- providing curriculum specialists, inspectors and examiners;
- providing curriculum content and materials;
- improving school facilities with funds from donor agencies;and in recent years
- supplying schools with textbooks.
The MOET can also approve or deny applications for study leave from registered teachers. That is, teachers that are paid by the government. [[WIP}}
THE ROLE OF PARENTS
Parents have always been the backbone of Lesotho's educational system because of their financial contribution in the running and development of schools. This they do through the payment of school fees and the buying of support materials in the form of books and stationery.
ParentS elect representatives into the school board of governors. These representatives become an advisory committee to the school management. They participate in the recriutment of staff, budgeting, staff discipline and school development plans.
This body also monitorS schools' performnce by scrutinising the end of year statistical representation of the school's overall performance.
Appointment of principals
Principals or Heads of Schools are a critical element in the leadership of school. A school that has a good principal is like a bus with a good driver. Even if the school has Governing Board, a principal needs to oversee all the activities of the school and its relationship to the community and whether ultimately the school is leading students to worthwhile goals or not. Therefore the appointment of a school principal needs to be guided by the ideals and goals of schooling at the national, community and individual levels. These ideals will guide the selection of a principal who has the necessary knowledge, skills, experience and attitudes that can lead students, teachers and community members to the realization of some crucial educational goals. It is no surprise that the processes that lead to the selection of a principal are highly formalized and (sometimes) tedious and involve stakeholders at different levels of Education. The screening process is an attempt to identify someone who has developed a high sense of what education is supposed to serve in Lesotho and the challenges that dodge the success of schooling. More importantly, the screening is supposed to identify someone who can work harmoniously with teachers, students and other community members to bring about improvement in the school's morale, and students' academic success. The personal characteristics of the principal, mental, physical and spiritual health, academic qualifications and experiences as teachers and educators and their ability to LEAD a school towards the achievement of the goals of schooling should make the bulk of the assessment of possible candidates.
In a typical primary or high school in Lesotho the main category of staff employed are teachers. Then there might be a security guard to oversee school premises in the absence of teachers. Not all schools have security guards. The schools are run with the assistance of school committees in the case of primary schools and through school boards in the high schools.
In a primary school there is a principal and a deputy, assistant teachers and a security guard in some instances. In the high schools there is the principal, deputy, heads of departments and teachers under various departments. There might also be a security guard.
The Government of Lesotho is the major employer of all teachers in the primary and high schools.Almost all teachers in both the primary and high schools are employed by the gorvenment. Be it in the church owned schools,community or privately owned schools . The government employs teachers through the Teaching Service Department of the Ministry of Education and Training. However there are some teachers who are employed by the communities where there is shortage of staff. These teachers are usually called private teachers. These teachers are employed by parents through the school boards and are paid from funds collected by the parents.
The security guards are employed by schools and paid through funds allocated to schools by government. But because the funds allocated to schools are allocated per child per school, some schools, especially small schools (scarcely populated) are not able to employ guards.
The role of students in school leadership
The bulk of the community members in a school are students.