Education in Lesotho

Joined Commonwealth: 1966

Population: 2,067,000 (2009)

GDP p.c. growth: 1.6% p.a. 1990-2009

UN HDI 2010: world ranking 141

Net primary enrolment: 73.4% (2009)

Net secondary enrolment: 28.8% (2009)

Gross tertiary enrolment: 3.6% (2006)

Adult literacy: 89.7% (2009)

Public spending on education was 13.1% of GDP in 2007. There are seven years of compulsory education starting at age six. Net enrolment ratios are 73.4% for primary and 28.8% for secondary, and gross enrolment ratio for all levels of education combined is 59.2% (2009). The pupil-teacher ratio for primary is 34:1 and for secondary 17:1 (2009). Some 52% of pupils complete primary school (2008). The school year starts in March.

Higher education institutes include the Lesotho College of Education, the National University of Lesotho, Lesotho Agricultural College and Lerotholi Polytechnic. The Council on Higher Education was established in 2008 by the ministry of education to regulate the various tertiary education institutions, and is responsible for increasing access to higher education and developing means of funding it. Literacy among people aged 15-24 is 92% (2009).

The ministry’s Special Education Unit provides for learners with special education needs and is also responsible for the development of special education teacher training programmes.

Lesotho has qualified for the World Bank’s ‘Fast Track Initiative’, which aims at meeting the education Millenium Development Goals and the Education for All goal that all children complete a full cycle of primary education by 2015. Under the initiative developing countries commit to design and implement sound education plans and development partners commit to align and harmonise additional support around these plans.