Education in Lesotho - An Overview
The Education System in Lesotho is based on UNESCO’s recommendations on International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED). The primary and lower secondary education remain distinct according to this classification. ISCED revised the level of education as the unit of classification. Each level may comprise of more than one stage and a successful completion of one stage is pre requisite for entry into next higher stage. There are 6 different level of education – Level O, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 5, and Level 6. These correspond respectively to Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Primary Education, Lower Secondary Education, Higher Secondary Education, Post Secondary Non-tertiary Education and University Education.
Education at O Level (Zero) is provided at pre primary level. The education gives emphasis on early childhood development and prepares children for next level of education. The early childhood care and development education is not reaching in rural and village areas. The ministry of education has vision through EECD to provide access to early childhood education to all children upto 6 years old by the year 2010.
Level 1 Education is the first stage of education; the education at this level comprises of reading, writing and arithmetic along with elementary introduction to another subjects. The duration of Level 1 education is seven years. Children 6 years old take entry into Level 1 education. After study of 7 year of Level 1 education student appear for Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) certificate. This certificate makes student eligible for entry into next level of basic education.
Level 2 Education is categorized into general / lower secondary education and vocational education. The Level 2 Education General Secondary Education marks the second stage of basic education and covers three school years from A to C. The official age of entry for admission into Level 2 education is 13 years. Students are awarded Junior certificate after successful completion. Vocational Education, which is another part of Level 2 education, prepares students for labor market. The Level 2 education at vocational level is provided by institutions like St. Elizabeth, Bishop Allard, St. Michael’s social center, Bernada Home Economics and St. Mary’s Home Economics.
Level 3 Education is the equivalent of upper secondary education. Successful completion of Level 3 Education is compulsory towards completion of basic education. The duration of Level 3 education is two years. Students in the age bracket of 16 to 17 years attend Level 3 Education. After successful completion students are awarded Cambridge Overseas School Certificate (COSC). Having COSC is a must for admission into next level. There are also arrangements for Technical / Vocational education at this level. Technical / Vocational subjects taught at this level includes basic electronics, carpentry and joinery, plumbing, electrical installation, brick laying and fitting and turning.
Level 4 Education is divided into two categories. The first category consists of Teacher Training Programs. This facilitates students with necessary teaching skills required for primary and lower secondary classes. The second imparts education in technical subjects like architecture, and motor mechanics.
Level 5 Education is University Education consisting of 4 years. The admission requirements in first degree i.e. first year of study are COSC or Certificate and /or Diploma in teacher training program or equivalent.